UPPER SIXTH
AREAS OF NATURAL BEAUTY
GG08; Historical and Rural Landscapes of England and Wales.
D4; emergence of Planning Policy. Planning policy in the UK is implemented through legislature from the Planning Section of the Department of the Environment, Regions and Transport. Land with legislative cover comprises of one of the following types;
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs)
a) There are 37 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in England (covering 15.6% of land area) and 4 in Wales. Designation started in 1956 with the Gower in Wales; the most recent addition was the Tamar Valley in 1995.
b) AONBs were brought into being under the same legislation as National Parks - the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act of 1949. The Countryside Agency and the Countryside Council for Wales are responsible for designating AONBs and advising Government on policies for their protection. AONB matters in Wales are now the responsibility of the National Assembly.
c) The primary objective of the AONB designation is the conservation and enhancement of the natural beauty of the landscape, although many of them also fulfil a great recreational purpose. The administration of planning and development control in AONBs is the responsibility of those local authorities within whose boundaries they fall. AONBs are currently managed through a variety of local arrangements.
d) Local authorities with land in AONBs may receive specific grants from the Countryside Agency for their conservation and management. The budget provided by the Government to the Countryside Agency to spend on AONBs has increased from 2.1m in 1998/99 to 5.9m in the current year. Future provision is dependent on the outcome of the current Government Spending Review.
The landscape qualities of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are equivalent. The Government's planning policies for AONBs are set out in Planning Policy Guidance Note (PPG) 7: The Countryside - Environmental Quality and Economic and Social Development (Revised February 1997). PPG7 states that
"The Government regards National Park Designation as conferring the highest status of protection as far as landscape and scenic beauty are concerned."
This reflects the National Park Authorities' primary objective to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Parks. It does not mean that the landscape beauty of AONBs is in any way inferior to that of National Parks. AONBS should therefore share the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty.
The National Trust
The National Trust was founded in 1895 by three Victorian philanthropists - Miss Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley. Concerned about the impact of uncontrolled development and industrialisation, they set up the Trust to act as a guardian for the nation in the acquisition and protection of threatened coastline countryside and buildings.
More than a century later, we now care for over 248,000 hectares (612,000 acres) of beautiful countryside in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, plus almost 600 miles of outstanding coastline and more than 200 buildings and gardens of outstanding interest and importance. Most of these properties are held in perpetuity and so their future protection is secure. The vast majority are open for visitors and we are constantly looking at ways in which we can improve public access and on-site facilities.
We are a registered charity and completely independent of Government, therefore relying heavily on the generosity of our subscribing members (now numbering over 2.6 million) and other supporters
The Forestry Commission

What is it? Public body controlled by the Government Set up after the First World War when Britain had had large wood shortages. Quick growing conifers were planted across large areas of land managed by the commission. The aim was to provide Britain with its own supply of wood in case of another war. The main tree types that are grown are: Sitka spruce, Norway spruce, Scotch pine, European larch and Douglas fir.
Aims of the Commission; The Forestry Commission's mission is to: Protect and expand Britain's forests and woodlands and increase their value to society and the environment The Forestry Commission's objectives are to: Protect Britain's forests and woodlands Expand Britain's forest area Enhance the economic value of our forest resources Conserve and improve the biodiversity, landscape and cultural heritage of our forests and woodlands Develop opportunities for woodland recreation Increase public understanding and community participation in forestry
The Commission Today 8% of Britain is woodland, of this 4% is owned and managed by the forestry commission. However the wood that is produced by the careful management only accounts for between 12-15% of what Britain needs. The rest of Britain's needs have to be fulfilled by importing wood from abroad this costs about 8bn a year. The Commission currently employs 3,500 staff, with a further 3,000 people contracted to work in the forests. There has been huge investment in the forestry industry since it provides a valuable source of employment to rural economies. In the last 15 years over 1.6bn has been invested in the next fifteen this figure is expected to rise to 2bn. At the same time the volume of wood that is produced from British forests has more than doubled. In the 1970's 4million cubic meters of wood were produced, now that figure is 9m and it is expected to rise again to 15m by 2020.
Conservation and Planning
One major problem with planting up vast areas of land with conifers is that the trees are fairly unattractive; to make matters worse the straight channels cut through the plantations make the forests appear very blocky and artificial. The channels are unavoidable since they act to reduce the risk of fire. However the commission has acted to try and improve the appearance of the landscape. To reduce the monotony and artificiality of the plantations the commission now plants many varieties of conifers together and cuts the fire channels in a zigzag pattern.
The commission also aims to protect forests whilst expanding their economic viability. The commission is an important source of local employment in rural areas so making itself into a profitable and competitive company is important to local economies.
Another important aim of the commission is to prevent permanent damage to forestry areas. Forestry areas can have a heritage, which is worth preserving so the commission can decide whether or not planned developments in areas of forest go ahead or whether they should be preventing on the grounds of the environmental harm that they will cause. The commission has a board consisting of a chairman and up to ten forestry commissioners who act in accordance with the government's forestry acts, written in 1967 and 1979. However, the minister for the Department of the Environment can still overrule the board, if the planned development is in the national interest and of greater importance than preserving the environment. There are always problems with proposed developments because of the conflict of interest between those who wish to see economic improvements to an area such as industrialists and those who want to see the environment preserved. The commission's job is essentially to find a balance where by both sides of the argument can be partially appeased.
National Parks Authority (NPA)
The protection and conservation of what is widely regarded as the finest upland scenery in England is the National Park Authority's main responsibility. This has a fundamental influence on a very wide range of policies and activities.
The Lake District National Park Authority was established by Parliament in 1951 to protect the area's outstanding beauty and promote its quiet enjoyment by the public. As a local authority the NPA also take into account the needs of the 40,000 or so people who live inside the National Park boundary. The Lake District National Park Authority is a local government body which has two purposes:
1. To conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the National Park; and
2. To promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the National Park by the public
In pursuing these opportunities the NPA will also seek to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the National Park
In recognition of the National importance of the National Park, the greater part of the Authority's expenditure is financed by central government. A grant from the Department of the Environment accounts for 75% of the NPA's expenditure net of income generated from its own sources, such as car park fees and sale of literature at Information Centres. The remaining 25% comes from Cumbria County Council.
The NPA try to ensure development is appropriate to the needs of the landscape and the local community and that development does not conflict with the relevant national and local guidelines. The NPA receive around 1,200 planning applications received a year, of which approximately 89% were approved (1997/98). The NPA prepare sensitive management plans, repair and improve footpaths, fund town and village enhancement schemes and offer specialist land management, built environment, landscape design, ecology and recreational planning advice.
The NPA also own 9,000 hectares of fells and woodland and carry out sensitive management to sustain wildlife habitats. As a plethora of lakes and tarns provide both recreational opportunity and support important wildlife habitats, the NPA apply bylaws, provide boat launching areas and maintain the lakeshore footpaths to balance recreation with conservation.
The NPA does not own all the land within the National Park and this is where there is a fundamental difference with National Parks overseas, particularly in the USA. The Lake District National Park Authority owns approximately 3.9% of the land with the remainder being in the hands of other agencies such as the National Trust, North West Water plc, Forest Enterprise, and a vast range of private landowners. Therefore, as well as depending on the controls that are available, such as the development control system, consultation of farm grants and forestry proposals, the NPA work closely with landowners and other environmental agencies to establish management agreements and to ensure the 3,500km of bridleways and footpaths are accessible to all. Consultative forums consider different views and find acceptable management solutions where there are conflicts of interest.
The purposes for which a national park is designated are to conserve the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of its area and to provide for the enjoyment and understanding of its special qualities by the public. While these purposes are pursued as its prime duty, the NPA is required to foster the social and economic well being of the communities within the park.The national parks and the Broads are intrinsic parts of the national heritage of England and Wales. Their natural beauty is incomparable in both countries, and they include the most remote and dramatic landscapes of both. At the same time, they share much country whose details has been fashioned over 5,000 years by folk at work. They are currently home to nearly 250,000 people, many of whom occupy and work on the land and carry on the stewardship which that part of the cultural heritage demands.
In fact, more than 100 million visits are made to the parks in any one year, which is the main justification for the taxpayers' contribution of some 40 million per year through Government and the European Union to the management of the parks.
The national parks were designated under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 - the Peak District, the Lake District, Snowdonia and Dartmoor in 1951, Pembrokeshire and the North York Moors in 1952, Yorkshire Dales and Exmoor in 1954, Northumberland in 1956 and the Brecon Beacons in 1957. After the experimental period, the Broads Authority was created by the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act and confirmed in 1989. Since 1991, when the Edwards Report recommended that it become a national park, the New Forest Committee has retained in close association with the national park authorities and is invited to the meetings of ANPA's Executive Committee. All are briefly described on the reverse of this leaflet. In 1998, the Government is considering new candidates for national park status in England and Wales, and the Secretary of State for Scotland and that Loch Lomond and the Trossachs will form the first one. Scottish Natural Heritage is charged with advising the new Scottish Parliament on both candidates for the status in Scotland and the administrative methodology that might be applied.
Green Belts
Green Belts originated in the thoughts of Ebenzer Howard, in the late nineteenth century. They were first applied to London, as a city which was expanding fastest. By 1935, London County Council started buying up land to prevent it being developed. By 1945 20,000 hectares had been secured.
Green Belts originated in the thoughts of Ebenzer Howard, in the late nineteenth century. They were first applied to London, as a city which was expanding fastest. By 1935, London County Council started buying up land to prevent it being developed. By 1945 20,000 hectares had been secured. In the 1940s, decentralisation of people began. Patrick Abercrombie (Greater London Plan, 1944) proposed a Green Belt, 8km wide to stop London's urban sprawl. The plan differed from normal, since it considered the entire region, not just the city proper. It was widely used in London, and the Green Belt became locally recognised Green Belt Policy was adopted nationally in 1955. It required conurbations to think about planning aroung the local area. Contrary to popular belief, Green Belt land is privately owned, and retains private access rights. It can change designation over time.
Aims of Green Belts To stop urban sprawl To prevent neighbouring towns from merging To preserve the special character of towns To provide for recreation To safeguard agricultural activities To assist in urban regeneration
Conclusion; The various methods of planning restriction work to preserve the past for the future, by whatever means necessary. They shape the present to guarantee a better future. This must be done, in order to retain our cultural heritage.
Sources: www.national-trust.org.uk/ www.forestry.gov.uk/ www.lake-district.gov.uk/ www.detr.gov.uk/ www.anpa.gov.uk/ 'Geography - An Integrated Approach' by David Waugh. 3rd edition, published by Nelson. 'Changing Settlements' by Garrett Nagle. Published by Nelson, 1st edition.