Minister to explore recommendations of review
Carl Sargeant, minister for natural resources in the Welsh Government, has announced that he is to explore the recommendations made in a report on the country’s protected landscapes.
He has said that he has ‘has asked Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM to lead a Future Landscapes Working Group and that he invites representatives of the national parks, AONBs, interest groups, business, and local government to participate.
‘The group will explore these recommendations and the case for reform which is aligned to the priorities for public service reform in Wales, and report their findings next year’.
The report to which he was responding was called ‘National landscapes: Realising their Potential’ and was produced by the Ministerial Review Panel on Protected Landscapes in Wales (National Parks & AONBs) which was chaired by Professor Terry Marsden. The other two members of the panel were John Lloyd Jones and Dr Ruth Williams, who is the Landscape Institute’s policy officer for Wales.
The document, which was embargoed until 30 October, is available on the Welsh Government website.
Ruth Williams has pulled out some key messages from the report:
• These special places, such as Snowdonia, Gower and the Wye Valley, continue to be highly valued by people in Wales and by visitors to Wales.
• Most people are surprised to hear that, together, the eight nationally designated landscapes comprise a quarter of Wales.
• But, until now, they’ve lacked a ‘national’ voice within Welsh public life – we recommend low-cost and practical remedies, based on partnership and stronger leadership across the board.
• Our most cherished landscapes need to be maintained & enhanced for their environmental qualities, including wildlife, and for future generations to experience them and benefit from them.
• Our vision is that they become international flagships for Wales and productive ‘factories of well-being’ for the rural economy.
• They need the tools and ‘national’ status to play leading and innovative roles for all of Wales.
• Our suite of recommendations are deliberately designed to ‘realise the potential’ of these ‘national landscapes’ for the environment, for our health and well-being, for education, and for economic and community benefits.
Ruth said, ‘Our report puts landscape firmly back on the policy agenda in Wales.’