The NFU has responded to the independent Glover review call for evidence on England's National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).
Farming has shaped our protected landscapes, creating varied fabrics across the uplands and lowlands and bringing value to local and rural economies, through recreation and tourism. Going forward it must be possible for farm businesses to adopt new technology, remain modern, to sustain themselves and those who rely on them, regardless of location.
Given there are 10 National Parks and 34 AONBs farmers have a mixed experience of them. There has been good engagement with farmers where there has been recognition of the need for productive farming businesses in the protected landscape alongside other priorities.
The NFU recommends that we need to:
- Strengthen the National Parks and AONB duties to incorporate economic and social issues in their plans and planning decisions, working closely with local authorities who are responsible for delivery of these areas
- Require National Parks and AONBs to recognise the imperative for farm businesses to modernise and adopt technology to remain profitable and able to deliver the wider public benefits to these areas
- Improve how National Parks and AONBs consult farmers and landowners and include them in AONB/NP decision making processes i.e. have suitable farming representation
- Ensure greater clarity and transparency over the designation and extension assessment criteria.
- Introduce a mandate for National Parks and AONBs to avoid 'over-burdensome requirements' for businesses.