AONB Staff Newsletter December 2019
Merry Christmas and a happy new year!
As 2019 draws to a close, we wish all AONB teams and staff a very merry Christmas and very best wishes for 2020. It was always going to be a momentous year in AONB history as we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, but events really overtook us and 2019 managed to exceed all expectations.
As a network, we have really achieved so much. The Taking the Lead programme has created a real change in the level of collaboration across the network – we are keen that this momentum continues and are looking for ways to continue to support this, but what has been most impressive is the way that AONB staff members have run with this change in culture and pockets of collaboration seem to be popping up all around – long may it continue, we are already seeing the benefits of a stronger network. In July we visited Colchester for an inspiring Landscapes for Life conference. Many thanks to the team at Suffolk Coast and Heaths and Dedham Vale AONBs for making us so welcome and for doing such a wonderful job of organising a really successful conference. We closed the conference with the Colchester Declaration for Nature – to protect what remains and recover what has been lost.
In September things really ramped up; as the Taking the Lead communications group revitalised Landscapes for Life week by commissioning Poet Laureate Simon Armitage to create a new poem which perfectly encapsulated how so many of us feel about our special landscapes – a wildly ambitious idea which really paid off. The National Moment on Saturday 21 September was such a positive celebration of the UK’s designated landscapes that Julian Glover was inspired to join in by bringing forward the publication of his review to coincide with it.
Now after the hiatus of the election, it’s looking like we have the same Defra team as was in place before the vote was called in October, at least in the short to medium term. Theresa Villiers only last night identified delivering on the recommendations of the Glover Review as a priority for the department during 2020. This is brilliant news, however the coalition of conservation NGOs of which the NAAONB is a part will continue to push for this to become a reality.
We have achieved so much as a network in 2019, and we have an awful lot to look forward to in 2020.
For now, on behalf of all the team at the National Association, I hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas, and thank you for all your hard work over the course of 2019.
Howard and the team
As ever, if you have any projects you’d like to spread the word about, please get in touch.
In this issue:
Inclusion and Diversity
The Laurel Prize
Farming for the Nation
Landscapes for Life week 2020