Countryside scenery in the Dedham Vale
Autumn in the Dedham Vale - photo credit: Gregg Brown

News from the National Landscapes

Welcome to the latest News from the National Landscapes, the new name for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), covering the Suffolk & Essex Coast & Heaths, Dedham Vale and Stour Valley Project area.

In this month's News from the National Landscapes:

Simon Amstutz
National Landscape Manager

Welcome to National Landscapes

AONBs become National Landscapes

From 22nd November, all designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in England and Wales will now be known as National Landscapes, including the two in Suffolk and Essex.
The Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB will become the Suffolk & Essex Coast & Heaths National Landscape, reflecting the extension into Essex in 2020.  Likewise, the Dedham Vale AONB is now the Dedham Vale National Landscape. Both were designated as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1970.
The new name reflects their national importance; the vital contribution they can make to protect the nation from the threats of climate change, nature depletion and the wellbeing crisis, whilst also creating greater understanding and awareness for the work undertaken to protect their natural beauty.
This is a significant milestone for the UK and the next step in fully realising the National Landscapes’ vision to be the leading exemplars of how thriving, diverse communities can work with and for nature in the UK: restoring ecosystems, providing food, storing carbon to mitigate the effects of climate change, safeguarding against drought and flooding, whilst also nurturing people’s health and wellbeing.
Primary legislation has not been changed, so while legally the name remains AONB, these nationally designated landscapes will be referred to as National Landscapes.
As part of the change, the renamed National Landscapes team will have new email addresses to reflect the new situation in the following format:
Read More

New duties on statutory bodies

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act (2023) will come into force on 26th December 2023. From this date onwards an updated duty on relevant authorities will be active. This includes changes to Section 85 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000) to:  
In exercising or performing any functions in relation to, or so as to affect, land in an area of outstanding natural beauty in England, a relevant authority other than a devolved Welsh authority must seek to further the purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the area of outstanding natural beauty.
The change from ‘pay regard’ to ‘further the purpose’ is welcomed by many and it is understood that guidance on what this will mean for local planning authorities and other statutory authorities will be available in the new year.

Change to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State with responsibility for National Landscapes

Rebecca Pow MP announced at the National Landscapes chairs conference on 23rd November that she is the new Parliamentary Under Secretary of State with responsibilities for National Landscapes, National Parks and National Trails.

She replaces Trudy Harrison MP and will work under the new Secretary of State at DEFRA, the Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP who was appointed on 13th November 2023.

National Grid’s Bramford to Twinstead project

The Dedham Vale AONB (now the Dedham Vale National Landscape) Partnership has engaged in the hearings related to National Grid’s proposals for the strengthening of the electricity transmission network through the nationally designated landscape via the manager of the staff team.

Responses to previous consultations and summaries of representations at hearings can all be found on our website.
Read More

Hold the date for National Landscape planning event

On the morning of 14th March 2024, the National Landscape team will be hosting a planning event at The Hold in Ipswich. The event will see a range of nationally recognised speakers presenting on topics including dark skies, biodiversity net gain, nationally significant infrastructure projects and new duties placed on statutory bodies in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act (2023).

For more information, contact National Landscape Planning Officer, Beverley McClean at

Farming in Protected Landscapes, an interim report

The Farming in Protected Landscape (FiPL) programme offers the opportunity to fund projects across Protected Landscapes, supporting farmers and land managers to design and deliver projects that are aligned with the local priorities of the Protected Landscapes (PLs) and the four FiPL programme themes: Nature, Climate, People and Place – creating centres of excellence and green innovation that are flourishing places to live and work. An interim report on this programme is available online.
Read The Report

National Trust research on preparedness for Climate Change

Ahead of the Government’s new National Adaptation Programme, which will set the Government’s climate adaptation agenda for the next five years, the National Trust share new research that shows that the UK’s preparedness for climate change.
Read More

Essex Local Nature Recovery Strategies

Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) will become the primary strategic plan in England to tackle the demands of the ecological emergency and help reverse biodiversity declines – and you have the chance to help shape this new future for Essex.

Essex County Council will be supported by the Essex Nature Partnership in creating the LNRS for Essex, which will become a comprehensive strategy to highlight existing spaces for nature and areas of importance for biodiversity, as well as showcasing key areas for nature recovery, helping to outline priorities.

Hearing the opinions of Essex residents is an essential part of how the Essex LNRS will be created, helping to recognise existing success stories for wildlife as well as new opportunities for nature recovery.

A series of online webinars and in-person workshops are soon to take place and you are invited to join in, ask questions and provide feedback that can then be fed back into the Essex LNRS.
The Suffolk county council awards logo

The Creating the Greenest County Awards

The Creating the Greenest County Awards are back for another year!

This is the thirteenth time the Awards have been held to celebrate environmental excellence in every aspect of life across the county.

The awards recognise achievements by businesses, individuals, communities, organisations and schools, in areas such as reducing carbon emissions, being more sustainable and enhancing biodiversity.

Find Out More & Nominate
Volunteers holding tools in a field

News in brief

  • National Landscapes staff helped facilitate EDF Energy staff (above) undertake conservation work away from the Sizewell estate by making good use of thinned plantation woodland by creating dead hedges and log piles. The former will help to lower deer grazing pressure allowing a vegetation understorey to develop to help nightingale, warblers and spotted flycatcher.
  • National Landscapes volunteers excel. Recent feedback from a landowner where National Landscapes staff facilitated volunteers included: "Thank you so much for your fabulous contribution today, the Volunteer Team were really good and appeared to enjoy their visit."
  • An interesting job opportunity working on the Recreational Disturbance Avoidance Mitigation Strategy. Find more more.
  • The Environment Agency report: Over winter 2022 and into 2023 the hydrology and ecology of our rivers has slowly improved allowing catchments to move out of Drought and into Recovery. More recently Storms Babet and Ciaran brought well above average rainfall across East Anglia, which has unfortunately resulted in exceptionally high river flows and flooding to some communities. Soils have become saturated and allowed groundwater recharge to begin in some locations, resulting in the continued recovery of the ecology of our rivers.
  • Sea Changers announce the second call for applications to the Sea-Changers Marine Conservation Social Fund. The aim of the Marine Conservation Social Fund is to support socially beneficial marine conservation approaches and solutions. Its unique emphasis is that (as well as supporting marine conservation outcomes) projects will support or enhance participants’ health and well-being and / or deliver benefits for disadvantaged communities. Read more.
  • You can sign up to receive more news from the National Landcapes in the Coast & Heaths and Dedham Vale.

Please forward this email to anyone who may be interested, or they can sign up to receive future latest news emails here.

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Our mailing address is:
The AONB team
Saxon House, 1 Whittle Road
Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate
Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 0UH
United Kingdom

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