Residents are being asked to give their views on the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as part of a major consultation process to inform the future conservation of the area.
Postcards are being issued to households across the region asking what key things visitors and residents wish to protect in the AONB, and what they feel the biggest challenges are to the countryside.
Views will help inform the future management plans for 2019-2024.
The AONB team, based in Pateley Bridge, works in partnership with farmers, local communities and volunteers to conserve and enhance the area – so special, its wildlife and landscape is protected at a national level. This involves advising on planning issues, providing grants and advice and developing specific projects.
This work is supported by a committed group of volunteers alongside its registered charity, the Friends of Nidderdale AONB, who support the aims and objectives of the AONB by funding projects.
Work to date includes business and environmental advice for farmers to get Brexit-ready, training volunteers for the citizen science project The Wild Watch to survey birds, reptiles and plants to inform conservation strategies, restoring hay meadows and planting trees, and supporting rural tourism.
Councillor Nigel Simms, Chair of the Nidderdale AONB Joint Advisory Committee, said:
It is crucial people who live, work and visit the AONB are actively engaged in its protection and safeguarding. People are absolutely at the heart of its future.
It is a living and working place, and the purpose of our Management Plan is to act as a blueprint for everyone who cares about conserving the AONB’s special qualities.
Sarah Kettlewell, AONB Manager, said:
The recent report from the WWF that humanity has globally wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970 is relevant to all of us, on our doorsteps. It doesn’t just affect remote lands and exotic species. British wildlife – very common species – have taken a huge hit.
Our natural world is crucial to our health, well-being as well as being our ‘life-support system’.
Nidderdale AONB is an area of 233 square miles located on the eastern flanks of the Yorkshire Pennines stretching from the high moorland of Great Whernside south and east towards the edge of the Vale of York.
The recent Landscape Matters conference, hosted by the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership in Pateley Bridge, saw leading experts map out the challenges protected landscapes face. The conference was attended by writer Julian Glover, who was commissioned in May by the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, to conduct a review of ways to make England’s protected landscapes fit for the future.
We welcome the work of Julian Glover and the government’s 25 year environment plan. Alongside that, we need to take local action.
Our management plan for the next five years is crucial as change is coming in a major way. Key challenges outlined in our Landscape Matters conference were uncertainty around farming post-Brexit, rural isolation, and providing opportunities to engage all generations into the rural economy.
Add the national crisis around affordable housing and rural services and the global threat of climate change, safeguarding our countryside has never been so vital.
We hope people will take part in our consultation and make a difference. Despite the challenges, there’s enormous energy from people in Nidderdale to engage in and safeguard our countryside.
To complete the survey online see https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VMGX3D6