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:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/landscapes-review-national-parks-and-aonbs-government-response

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:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/designated-landscapes-national-parks-and-aonbs-2018-review/landscapes-review-summary-of-findings 

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.