Update 8th December 2023

Glover Landscapes Review

On the 29th November, the Government very quietly published their response and analysis to the Glover Landscapes Review consultation they carried out last year.  The consultation followed the publication of the Glover Landscape Review in 2019, which comprehensively reviewed our National Parks and AONBs and provided the opportunity to create a new chapter for our protected landscapes.

The consultation last year posed questions about changes to the legislative framework of Protected Landscapes, their role in environmental land management schemes and the planning system, and the potential for greater enforcement powers to manage visitor pressures.

Read our full response from 8th April 2022 here.

An analysis of the 15,112 responses has now been published along with the Government’s action plan for implementing the Landscape Review.  We have waited a long time to see action; it’s been six years since the landscapes review was first announced by Government and four years since the review was published. However, the implementation plan is extremely disappointing and not the transformational reform we hoped for, and that Julian Glover first proposed in 2019.

There are some positives.  The recognition of the importance of management plans and strengthening the guidance to support consistency is also very welcome.  As is the creation of a Protected Landscapes Partnership.  The Government acknowledge that protected landscapes are essential to the nation’s health and wellbeing and that they will play a significant role in nature recovery.  The announcement of a new national park for England and £15m of funding for protected landscapes will go some way to recovering nature. However, given the significant real terms cuts since 2010, protected landscapes will continue to struggle to deliver their purposes and benefits to people and nature.

The disappointment is that there is no dedicated legislation to bring about change.  The statutory purposes will not be strengthened and will not be reviewed to include nature recovery and climate change. Other omissions are how a sustainable transport pilot will be implemented in the Lake District and how to enable a ‘night under the stars’ in a protected landscape for every child, both of which were clear recommendations in the Glover Review.

There is no mention of the Sandford Principle, which Friends of the Lake District had stressed needed to reviewed and guidance provided as to when and how it should be applied. Our recent National Park Societies’ Conference, with the theme of Sandford in the 21st Century, illustrated how important this would be to ensure our protected landscapes can deliver for nature and landscape into the future.

Friends of the Lake District have also been campaigning for farmers to be paid for the full range of public benefits they provide – including food security, cultural heritage, biodiversity, access, health and wellbeing, and climate resilience. However, the new environmental land management schemes (ELMS) are failing to reward farmers for the cultural heritage they maintain and its benefits to people.

We are also frustrated that there will be no legislative changes to address the issue of recreational driving on unclassified, unsealed roads, despite the majority of National Park Authorities, National Landscape (AONB) Teams, Local Authorities, environmental NGOs and residents of protected landscapes responding that legislation is required.  We understand that Defra has instead set up a working group between National Parks and the recreational driving community to develop a criteria for unsuitable routes.  We hope to be able to feed into this process, to ensure all user groups’ views are represented.

The Glover Landscapes Review as published in 2019 was exciting and ambitious. However, with no dedicated legislation or review of the statutory purposes, this has been a lost opportunity to bring about significant changes that would have put protected landscapes at the centre of climate change solutions, nature recovery and the health and wellbeing of the nation.

The Government’s analysis of the consultation responses and action plan is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/landscapes-review-national-parks-and-aonbs-implementing-the-review/outcome/implementing-the-landscapes-review-summary-of-responses

Update 12th April 2022

In January, the Government published a series of proposals in response to an independent review of England’s National Parks and AONBs, led by Julian Glover. On April 8th we submitted a full written response to these proposals.

Read/download our full written response here>

Our submitted response in summary:

We applaud the Government’s proposals that our protected landscapes should be available to all and that nobody should feel excluded. While this needs balancing with managing visitor pressure, we are extremely supportive of ensuring our protected landscapes are inclusive and we would urge Government to emphasise this within its ‘levelling up’ agenda.

To truly ‘level up’, people need access to cheap, reliable public transport. Among Government proposals is a sustainable transport pilot in Cumbria to develop new sustainable ways to access the Lake District National Park.

This has the potential to transform public transport in the area and provides a huge opportunity to improve transport for Cumbrian communities and visitors alike, enabling those without a private car to access the wider landscape for recreation and providing access to employment opportunities for those living in local communities. It could also help to meet local climate change targets and ensure the impacts of tourism do not damage the landscape it relies upon.

We have called for this sustainable transport pilot to be actioned as soon as possible to deliver the ‘levelling up’ agenda and help Cumbria recover from the economic effects of the Covid pandemic. It is now urging the Government to commit financial support and provide guidance to deliver a truly outstanding sustainable transport network in the Lake District.

Alongside first-rate public transport, the charity believes that the people who work in the Lake District should be able to afford to live there.

The issue of affordable housing and second homes is particularly acute in protected landscapes and the charity is disappointed that Government proposals have not provided any real solutions to the issue. Landscape sensitivity and a desire to live in the National Park means that simply building more is even less appropriate than it is elsewhere and wants to see the Government develop a unique approach for our protected landscapes.

In further support of our remit to ‘secure a landscape that is accessible and enjoyed by all’ we would like to see every child in Cumbria given the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of spending time in its National Parks and AONBs. In our original response to the Glover Review, we recommended introducing designated landscapes into the national curriculum and providing opportunities for all children to visit a designated landscape.

Whilst we welcomed a subsequent Government proposal to support capacity building in schools to help young people engage with nature, we would like to see the Government go further and take forward a proposal in the Glover Review to introduce ‘a night under the stars’ in a protected landscape for every child.

The response from Government and associated consultation is long overdue. It is therefore essential that the Government is ambitious. We need to see some immediate action to bring lasting change and remove the barriers that prevent people enjoying and benefitting from the special landscapes of Cumbria.

Policy paper: Landscapes review (National Parks and AONBs): government response

Update 30 March 2022

One week left to respond to the Government’s consultation on the Landscapes Review

The Government is seeking the public’s views on its response to the Glover Landscapes Review, published on 15th January. Friends of the Lake District is producing a detailed response for the consultation and we encourage others that live in, work in or visit protected landscapes to do the same.

The consultation closes at 11:45pm on 9 April 2022. There are several questions focusing on specific aspects of the Government’s response:

  • The proposed changes to the statutory purposes for protected landscapes
  • The development of the new environmental land management scheme
  • The management of visitor pressure and potential enforcement powers
  • The use of unsealed roads by recreational vehicles
  • The role of AONB teams in planning
  • Proposed changes to the boards of protected landscapes
  • The role of public bodies and strengthening their statutory duties

There is also a final section asking if respondents have any further comments about other aspects of the Government’s proposals.

We will publish our own a detailed response here soon, but in the meantime you may like to refer to our summary response at the link below to help inform your own response. This highlights the aspects that we believe are most important for the protected landscapes in Cumbria and also provides a link to the consultation for you to submit your own personal response.

Summary response highlighting aspects we believe are most important for the protected landscapes in Cumbria>

Update 21 January 2022 

We have had some time now to digest the Government’s response to the Landscapes Review. We will provide a more in-depth response to the consultation soon, but our initial thoughts are that whilst there is some good news, there is little detail and some key recommendations from the Glover Review are missing.

The Government agreed with the Glover review that we need stronger Governance and national leadership with more collaboration between our protected landscapes. However, Government does not propose establishing a new body, instead they will ensure existing partners work together more effectively through a new national landscapes partnership. Whilst the details of this have not been outlined, there is concern that a new landscapes partnership would not have the capacity, resources or independence to fully deliver the strong leadership that is required.

We are particularly disappointed that there has not been a commitment to the multi-year funding agreements suggested by the Glover Review. The Government recognises that the core grant will not be sufficient for the work that needs to be done. They therefore propose a new funding model with more diverse sources of funding, such as private finance for nature-based solutions and a role for the new landscapes partnership to harness commercial and sponsorship opportunities. This does not provide protected landscapes with the certainty they need to plan ahead. There is also concern that private investors could influence management decisions or that they use their investment to offset their environmental impact elsewhere.

We welcome the proposals to strengthen the statutory purposes and align the purposes of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There is no specific wording proposed, but the Government recommends that the first purpose should include driving nature recovery as a core function of protected landscapes. They propose that it encompasses a wider range of societal benefits from nature, and there is specific reference to biodiversity and natural capital. Friends of the Lake District is disappointed that the Government has not recognised the importance of landscape and landscape character. It is the landscape that provides us with all the benefits that the Government want our protected landscapes to deliver. Landscape is the dynamic backdrop to our lives. It is the relationship between nature and culture, and encompasses biodiversity, geodiversity, cultural and natural heritage, along with all the health and wellbeing benefits of being immersed in the landscape. Its recognition will ensure the landscape continues to provide us with these benefits.

Improving access to protected landscapes and addressing the current inequality in those accessing the landscape is seen as a priority. Whilst this needs balancing with managing visitor pressure, we are extremely supportive of ensuring our protected landscapes are accessible to all. With no commitment to funding, however, it will be challenging for protected landscapes to deliver the long-term engagement activities required to increase the diversity of people using the landscape. There is also no mention of the Glover Review’s recommendation to introduce a night under the stars for every child in a protected landscape.

The Government has recognised the additional pressures seen in protected landscapes since the Glover review as a result of the pandemic and there are proposals for greater enforcement, making a greater range of enforcement powers available to National Park Authorities to help manage visitor pressures. it  also wants to develop new sustainable ways to access the Lake District National Park that may transform public transport in the area and become a blueprint for other landscapes. Friends of the Lake District would be very keen to support this.

Friends of the Lake District will continue to scrutinise the Government’s suggestions and will work with our partners to develop our response to the consultation. The consultation is open until the 9 April 2022 and we would urge everyone to provide their views.

Landscapes review (National Parks and AONBs): government response - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Update 15th January 2022

Government’s response to the Glover Landscape Review and associated consultation

Friends of the Lake District welcome the much anticipated response from the Government to the Glover Landscape Review and the opportunity to respond to their consultation. We will provide an in-depth response once we have considered the Government’s proposals in more detail.

The Government’s independent review of England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), led by Julian Glover, was published in October 2019. It was an ambitious report that largely agreed with many of our recommendations and we are pleased to see the Government supporting some of these. However, we will need to scrutinise the detail of the proposals to ensure they are ambitious enough to deliver the action that is urgently required.

One of our key recommendations to the Glover Review was to establish a strong central co-ordination body to provide strategic direction to protected landscapes. Any proposals should provide a stronger system of governance and ensure consistency, accountability and a voice to champion designated landscapes at government level.

Another key ambition of Friends of the Lake District is to better involve and educate children and young people about national parks. We were very supportive of the Glover Review’s recommendation to allow every child to experience a night under the stars in a protected landscape and we are very keen to explore ideas for better engaging young people.

Friends of the Lake District welcome proposals to extend and designate new protected landscapes. Central to this should be plans to address the complex and lengthy designation process as suggested by the Glover Review. We will continue to advocate for a southern boundary extension to the Lake District National Park and understand there will be opportunity for this to be considered in the future.

The response from Government and associated consultation is long overdue. It is therefore essential that the Government are ambitious and maintain momentum to deliver lasting improvements that will secure the future of our protected landscapes. This will require protected landscapes to be sufficiently funded to allow them to deliver their purposes and benefits to the nation.

Read the Government's full response to the Glover Landscapes Review here:


Update 14th May 2020

Protected Landscapes (Glover) Review

The current crisis is showing just how important landscape and nature are to our health and well-being.  We understand that the Government will be considering the report prepared by an independent panel led by Julian Glover.  We will be writing to the Government asking them to move forward on elements of the review that we support.

Update 8th October 2019

The report was published last month, sooner than we had expected.  The report is ambitious and agrees with a number of our recommendations, the key one being that a National Landscapes Service should be established to bring together our 44 designated landscapes (National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty).  The Review considered the current system of landscape protection to be fragmented, marginalised and misunderstood- not really a system at all.  We certainly agree with the principle of this and think National Parks should have a stronger voice in Government but also stronger governance to make sure that there is consistency in how the statutory purposes are applied throughout the Parks. 

With regard to the statutory purposes of National Parks there is mention of reference being made within the purposes to improving nature and biodiversity, there is also mention of an updated Sandford Principle where greater weight must be given to the first purpose to conserve and enhance natural beauty.  We had also recommended that National Parks be included in the National Curriculum and one of the proposals is for every child to spend a night under the stars in a national landscape.  We welcome references to helping people from minorities and less well- off areas to access our landscapes.  There is also  a reference to increasing the amount of land accessible to the public and again, this is something we had recommended. 

We are pleased that the report recognises the Lake District is heavily congested at times with an over reliance upon cars. There is also a recognition that unlimited car use can spoil the special beauty. A new approach to co-ordinating public transport in the Lake District is a specific proposal within the report. However, there is not enough recognition that too many visitors can undermine the quality of the landscape. We believe that there needs to be more discussion about the measures that can be implemented to alleviate the impact on infrastructure of an ever increasing number of visitors to the Lake District.

On funding the current system is considered unnecessarily complex.  Other recommendations include reducing the administrative burden by reducing the numbers of people on National Park Boards.  This should raise some money, but not enough if the ambitions of the report are to be fulfilled.  The report considers that there should be an ambitious and philanthropic programme of funding including both a charitable and commercial approach.  However, there is no clear framework for this and we have concerns about the conflicts that may be created from commercial funding and that charitable fundraising for landscape protection purposes may just take from the existing pool of finance available for such work. 

A link to the summary of the findings can be seen below:


Update 31st July 2019

We are pleased with one of the key suggestions of the Designated Landscapes Review.  Julian Glover who leads the review has published a letter which sets out a guide to the review panel’s thoughts on what they have found.  The main ask from Friends of the Lake District was that some form of central governing and co-ordinating body is set up to provide strong governance and consistency around the purposes of National Parks.  The letter from Julian Glover to Michael Gove makes clear that we should not be happy with what we have at the moment and that the system of landscape protection is fragmented, sometimes marginalised and often misunderstood.  In the light of this the panel is going to explore the potential of a National Landscape Service- effectively supporting our key request.

The letter also emphasises that our designated landscapes should be at the forefront of nature recovery and take a lead in tackling climate change.  In terms of funding at the very least the panel want to see existing budgets secured in real terms and sustained for a further five year period.

The initial findings in the letter are generally challenging, that is heartening and we look forward to the full report.

Read Julian Glover's July 2019 letter setting out the interim findings of the Landscapes Review.

18th December 2018

A summary of our response is detailed below together with a link to our full response.

While we consider that our designated landscapes have been a great post war success story our landscapes must meet the challenges of today. We have made a significant number of recommendations to the review but our key points are that:

  • There should be a strong central co-ordination body to provide strategic direction to national parks and to ensure consistency, accountability and a voice to champion designated landscapes at government level

  • A greater emphasis should be placed upon conserving and enhancing natural and cultural heritage to make sure that enhancement of the special qualities of our landscapes takes place

  • The types of recreation promoted must be in line with the first purpose to conserve and enhance

  • The review should consider opportunities for introducing designated landscapes into the national curriculum and providing opportunities for all children to visit a designated landscape

Read our response in full here

25th October 2018

Friends of the Lake District welcomes the Government’s independent review of England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) launched on 20th October.  The review is led by Julian Glover supported by an experienced advisory group.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make your views known on the future of our National Parks and AONBs and how they are run.  We will be submitting a response to the review but we would urge individual members to feed in their own comments directly. As part of the response process, there is an option for you to submit an image illustrating what is special to you about a National Park or AONB. We believe that this provides an exciting opportunity for us all to demonstrate what these landscapes mean to us. 

With a deadline for submissions on 18 December, the review will report next year, 70 years after the landmark National Parks Act 1949 that established National Parks in England and it will consider all aspects of England’s National Parks and AONB's. 

Background information about the review together with the consultation can be found here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/land-use/landscapes-review-call-for-evidence

We will provide an update and some initial thoughts once we have considered the review in more detail.