The Glover Landscape Review

In May 2018 the Government commissioned an independent review led by journalist Julian Glover into whether the legislation for our National Parks and AONBs issued over 70 years ago, is still fit for purpose.

The subsequent report was published in September 2019, and became known as the Glover Landscape Report1for, D. (2018). Landscapes review: National Parks and AONBs. [online] GOV.UK. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/designated-landscapes-national-parks-and-aonbs-2018-review [Accessed 20 Dec. 2021]..

This 168 page report contains 27 ‘Proposals”, far too many to analyse or even list here but all sensible and pragmatic, and even more urgent today.

In June 2021, George Eustice, the Secretary of State for Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs released a written statement with the Government’s response2Parliament.uk. (2021). Written statements – Written questions, answers and statements – UK Parliament. [online] Available at: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-06-24/hcws119 [Accessed 20 Dec. 2021]..

It was very brief. The CPRE, the countryside charity said it was “a step in the right direction“, “welcoming some ‘positive signposts’ but spotting missed opportunities3CPRE. (2021). The Glover Review announcement is a good start: now the work begins, we say – CPRE. [online] Available at: https://www.cpre.org.uk/news/the-government-respond-to-glover-review/ [Accessed 20 Dec. 2021]..

It is now over two years since the Glover Report was published. A lot has changed in the world. We are now waking up to the true scale of the climate emergency, and need prompt and ambitious strengthening of our National Parks and AONBs to ensure they are up to the challenge and can help nature recover and to tackle climate change.

The demand for open spaces has been exacerbated by Covid, joining pressures arising from the intensive land management, commercial forestry, all types of infrastructure, and housing.

The Government’s response of June 2021 did reaffirm its ‘commitment of protecting 30% of our land by 2030, and boosting biodiversity4Prime (2020). PM commits to protect 30% of UK land in boost for biodiversity. [online] GOV.UK. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-commits-to-protect-30-of-uk-land-in-boost-for-biodiversity [Accessed 20 Dec. 2021].. The Glover Report’s proposals would go some way towards achieving this commitment but more will need to be done. The report could be said to be already out-of-date.

Our National Parks and AONBs provide us with many benefits, for nature, climate and people, but again so much more could be achieved. The Government needs to commit to amending the statutory duties of National Parks and AONBs, placing a stronger emphasis on tackling the climate emergency, biodiversity, and an active connection with all members of society. Any development within a National Park or AONB should support, and not harm, the recovery of the natural environment.

I appreciate that the Government has rather a lot on its plate at the moment but really that is no excuse. All in would take to show commitment would be for just one junior minister could be given the task of formulating the Government’s response.

For the moment we wait in anticipation for the Government’s formal response to the Glover Report, addressing in detail all of its 27 proposals.

My suspicion is that it will end up in the same filing cabinet as other reports: Cygnus, Arcuri, Garden Bridge, Vote Leave, Gavin Williamson, Priti Patel, Russia, BAME Report into Covid-19, etc., etc.


Meanwhile on Pinchinthorp Moor in the North York Moors National Park …

 

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