Outstanding News!

Tuesday 1st December 2015

Sunrise at Higher Moors ~ © Ed MarshallSunrise at Higher Moors ~ © Ed Marshall

Protection for AONB Funding confirmed in Autumn Statement.

Last week the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) was on the agenda at our Local Council Meeting with members being asked to consider a number of scenarios in terms of potential funding cuts (from maintaining current levels, to 30%-50% cuts) and the knock on effects this could have on AONB service delivery within our Islands.¹

The following day George Osborne delivered his autumn statement, including details of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) budget over the course of this parliament which is where a large proportion of AONB funding comes from, announcing that “funding for National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty will [also] be protected”. ²

This is fantastic news not only for Scilly but for AONB’s all over the country!

AONB is a statutory designation; the legal framework for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty is provided by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

It requires that a Management Plan be produced for each AONB; the duty of which falls to Local Authorities, who must act jointly to produce the plan. In most cases the AONB Partnership produces the Management Plan on behalf of the relevant Local Authority.

Scilly’s AONB Partnership Executive Board consists of representatives from The Council of the Isles of Scilly (Amanda Martin), Duchy of Cornwall (Luke Humphries) Tresco Estate (Robert Dorrien-Smith), Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust (Sarah Mason), Islands’ Partnership (David Jackson), IFCA (Steve Watt), Historic England (Ross Simmonds), Natural England (Jo Traill-Thomson) and RSPB (Paul St Pierre) and the 2015-2020 Management Plan can be viewed below.

In 2014 the Council of the Isles of Scilly invited third parties to bid for a slice of the DEFRA funding to deliver agreed aspects of the AONB Management Plan. The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust submitted a successful bid which included delivery of an environmental education programme, access improvements and new signage and interpretation all of which are completed or underway.

As a condition of this grant the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust has to maintain and regularly provide detailed records of all AONB funded expenditure along with progress reports to the Council of the Isles of Scilly.

Now that future funding from the AONB has been protected for the next five years, the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust can start to make firm plans for the 2016/17 year and build on the good working relationships which have been established already within the AONB partnership. The Trust will continue to focus delivery on tangible outcomes which improve access to and enjoyment of the Isles of Scilly AONB.

During last week’s council meeting Councillor Savill stated that the partnership was “working well” and that with the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust carrying out delivery, it was “much improved”.

Councillor Martin stated that “The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust have done a very good job in carrying out the hands-on the tasks of the AONB” and she urged people to get out and see the work that they have done if they haven’t done so already because “it is very positive”.

The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust is pleased to hear that the Councillors are supportive of the AONB Partnership and of the work carried out by the Trust.

Chief Executive of the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, Sarah Mason, commented that “the DEFRA grant for delivery of actions within the AONB Management Plan is a great way to ensure these national funds are spent locally. The Trust is an independent, locally run charity employing 8 staff all of whom live on Scilly. Carrying out improvements to the landscape with this funding really does benefit the islands’ economy as well as our natural and historic environment”


 

References & Further Information:
¹ The CIOS AONB Update Agenda Item can be viewed on the Council of the Isles of Scilly website
² The Government Press Release regarding DEFRA & Spending Review can be viewed on the gov.uk website 
 

Downloads

FilenameFile size
ios_aonb_management_plan_2015-2020_awaiting_ministerial_foreword.pdf18.15 MB

Tagged with: Living Landscapes, AONB, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, DEFRA, Funding, Partnership