Chaired by Professor Terry Marsden, Director of the Sustainable Places Research Institute at Cardiff University, the Independent Review of Designated Landscapes in Wales is now in the hands of the Welsh Government’s Natural Resources Minister, Carl Sargeant.
The panel’s recommendations include making no change to the name or legal status of national parks or AONBs, strengthening the support and delivery role of other bodies and the creation of a National Landscape Committee.
The Minister said that due to the considerable scale and scope of the recommendations, further work was now needed to understand the potential benefit and consequences.
He has asked Assembly Member, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, to lead a Future Landscapes Working Group and invites representatives of the national parks, AONBs, interest groups, business, and local government to participate.
The group will be charged with exploring the recommendations and the case for reform, report their findings next year.
“I want these areas which are valued for their natural beauty to be thriving living landscapes containing vibrant, resilient communities, opportunities for outdoor recreation and rich ecosystems,” said the Minister.
“The panel has endorsed my view that a fresh approach to the national parks and AONBs is long overdue, and I agree with its summary that this is necessary to better respond to increasingly complex environmental challenges, inequalities in well-being and health, and to deliver more vibrant rural communities.”
Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas added: “I appreciate the unique opportunity to be the independent chair of the Future Landscapes Working Group and the opportunity to serve these unique areas of our country.”