The  Landscapes  (Glover)  Review

The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan announced a review of Protected Landscapes in England. Julian Glover, a journalist and author, was asked to head up the Review Panel. The Panel’s Report, issued in September 2019, included 27 specific recommendations with an overall purpose that ‘we want our national landscapes to work together with big ambitions, so they are happier, healthier, greener, more beautiful and open to everyone.’ These included:

  • proposals for a renewed mission to recover and enhance nature
  • a stronger mission to connect all people with our national landscapes; to increase the ethnic diversity of visitors; and improve the nation’s health and well-being
  • national landscapes working for vibrant communities; in particular addressing affordable housing and sustainable transport issues
  • new designated landscapes nationally and changes to the designation process
  • changes to the statutory purposes for designated landscapes; reformed governance arrangements; and a new financial model.

In January 2022 the Government Published its response to the Glover Review. The response sets out a revised vision for protected landscapes:

“A coherent national network of beautiful, nature-rich spaces that all parts of society can easily access and enjoy. Protected landscapes will support thriving local communities and economies, improve our public health and wellbeing, drive forward nature recovery, and build our resilience to climate change”

Key reforms identified include:

  • A new National Landscapes Strategy to be prepared by Defra
  • A revised ‘first purpose’ setting out that a core function of protected landscapes should be to drive nature recovery
  • A revised ‘second purpose’ that highlights the need to improve opportunities and remove barriers to access for all parts of society with clear reference to public health and wellbeing as an outcome
  • Enhanced role for local partnerships in statutory management plans
  • Strengthening the legal duty on public bodies to have regard to National Park and AONB purposes

Implementation of the reforms described in the  Government’s response will require new strategies and working practice, the formation of new bodies and legislative changes. Currently these ambitious reforms are not supported with any new or additional funding for National Parks, making delivery of the Vision extremely challenging, and partnership working even more crucial to the pursuit of National Park purposes.