Posted on Wednesday 22nd November 2023
A family walk in Cannock Chase. Photo by Sam Carpenter.
All designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in England and Wales are becoming National Landscapes, including Cannock Chase in Staffordshire.
The rebrand, which comes into effect from today (Wednesday 22 November) reflects the areas’ national importance, the vital contribution they make to protect the nation from threats of climate change, nature depletion and the wellbeing crisis, whilst also creating greater understanding and awareness for the work they do.
Cannock Chase - which spans over 67km 2 – was designated an AONB in 1958. It is rich in heritage and home to a range of sensitive species, making it an internationally important site for wildlife.
Staffordshire County Council (SCC) is part of the Cannock Chase National Landscape partnership, which brings together local authorities, statutory agencies, landowners and community representatives to conserve and enhance the area’s natural beauty.
Cannock Chase Country Park, a beautiful area of heathland and wood pasture in South Staffordshire, is managed by SCC.
Cabinet member for Communities and Culture at SCC and Chair for Cannock Chase National Landscape Joint Committee, Victoria Wilson, said:
“Cannock Chase truly is one of Staffordshire’s gems.
“It is packed with rare wildlife and heritage interest and is part of a worldwide protected landscape family that includes our own National Parks.
“This rebrand is the next step in fully realising the National Landscapes’ vision to be a leading example of how thriving communities can work with and for nature in the UK – restoring ecosystems, providing food, storing carbon to mitigate the effects of climate change, safeguarding against drought and flooding, whilst also nurturing people’s health and wellbeing.”
By 2030, National Landscapes aim to:
Restore 200,000 hectares of the most valuable natural areas, including Sites of Special Scientific Interest) to favourable conditions.
Create and restore 100,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitats.
Plant and regenerate 36,000 hectares of woodland.
Chief Executive of the National Landscapes Association, John Watkins, said:
“For decades, AONB teams have convened powerful partnerships which have placed them at the forefront of the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss, but since their initial designation, our country has changed immensely, as have the needs and pressures on the environment and communities.
“However, we have great ambition as well as the commitment and readiness to care for and protect these important places, whilst also extending a welcome to more people. Our ambitious aims build on AONB teams’ long track record of successful delivery for nature and people and we are confident that we will achieve them. National Landscapes are the landscape designation for the 21st Century and beyond.”
There are 46 National Landscapes in the UK, covering 14% of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Over 44 million (66%) of people in England live within 30 minutes of a National Landscape and at least 170 million visit them every year.
Watch National Landscapes Association YouTube video here.