Government gives green light for expansion of Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB.
The government has today (7 July) confirmed the expansion of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (SC&H AONB).
The move sees the AONB expand by around 38 square kilometres, taking in a rich tapestry of attractive river valleys, ancient woodland, reed beds, wildlife-rich estuaries, and windswept beaches. The area includes the Stour estuary – one of the most important wildlife estuaries in Europe and of international importance for wildfowl and waders.
The last time an AONB was extended was the nearby Dedham Vale in 1991. The new designation means that a greater area of nationally significant landscape will be managed to conserve and enhance its natural beauty.
The newly designated area will benefit from the AONB’s advice and guidance, as well as the funding which is made available to designated landscapes to deliver their statutory purpose. The area will also benefit from the greater focus on natural beauty in national planning policy to help protect and enhance its precious landscape.
The move will bring significant benefits to the local area, enabling local businesses and tourist sites to promote the area as an AONB and access relevant grants, including for sustainable tourism.
The announcement also marks a significant step in implementing the recommendations of the Landscapes Review - spearheaded by Julian Glover in 2019 – which called on the government to take bold action to make our national significant landscapes greener, more beautiful and open to everyone.
Defra Secretary of State, George Eustice MP, said: “Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks are among the most treasured places in our great English countryside, and this landmark decision demonstrates our commitment to designating even more places for people and wildlife to enjoy.”