Quantock Hills Blog

Autumn Statement brings good news for Protected Landscapes

- A break down of what it will mean

Katy Coate

Posted by Katy Coate on 01 December 2015

Autumn Statement brings good news for Protected Landscapes At last, some good news from government!
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty have been explicitly mentioned in the government’s Autumn Statement spending review as having funding protected.

There is always cause for celebration when England’s countryside and protected landscapes are given recognition in a spending review, Mr. Osborne announced that:

“Funding for National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty will [also] be protected”

This means that the fantastic work carried out in AONBs and National Parks across the country is being properly recognised by central government.  It also reflects the public demand to protect our countryside - Obsborne raised a bit of a laugh with the public forests bit when he said “we’ll not be making that mistake again!” In reference to the outcry a few years ago when the goverment raised the possibility of selling off public forests.

Further details of the Statement and welcome words from Liz Truss, Defra Secretary of State (SoS), can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-department-for-environment-food-and-rural-affairs-settlement-at-the-spending-review-2015

Pages 110-111 are broken down here:

2.150 The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) settlement
includes:

• protection of flood defence funding, including the £2.3 billion 6 year capital investment programme to better protect over 300,000 homes
• over £130 million capital investment in DEFRA’s science estates and equipment by 2020-21, including funding to enhance national outbreak response capabilities
• £3 billion investment to safeguard England’s countryside through the Common Agricultural Policy, and protection of over £350 million funding for public forests, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty over the Spending Review period
• resource savings of 15% in real terms by 2019-20, delivered through efficiencies within the department and across its network

Security
2.151 The government will continue to prioritise investment in flood defences. The government’s £2.3 billion capital programme will invest in over 1,500 schemes to give 300,000 homes greater security from flooding by 2021. Flood defence maintenance funding will also be protected, and DEFRA will work with the Environment Agency to generate 10% efficiencies by 2019-20 with all savings reinvested to better protect another 4,000 homes.

Long-term investment
2.152 To maintain its world-class response and recovery capabilities, the government will prioritise spending on animal and plant disease prevention and will invest £130 million capital funding in DEFRA’s science estates by 2020-21. The government will also continue to invest in implementing its 25-year strategy to eradicate bovine tuberculosis.

2.153 The government will invest over £3 billion to enhance England’s countryside through the Common Agricultural Policy and funding for public forests will be safeguarded, with 11 million trees planted over the Parliament. Funding for National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty will also be protected, and National Parks will be given legal flexibilities to allow them to build sustainable, long-term revenue streams and boost growth in rural areas.

2.154 South West Water customers will continue to benefit from £50 off their bills throughout this Parliament, in recognition of the higher costs faced by water customers in the South West.

 

Whilst this is all good news, it is also worth pointing out that AONBs also receive crucial funding from Local Authorities, whose position looks far more complicated, so it is by no means calm waters (or quiet skies!) for the Quantock Hills yet.  Watch this space!


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  • No avatar available
    Kevin

    02 Dec 15

    OK…..but what does Mr Osborne have to say about selling FRACKING licences for areas immediately around the Quantocks?  What about all the homeowners who are not on mains water supply but currently enjoy beautiful pure spring & well water?  Does he advise that we connect our water taps to our boiler systems to make use of the crappy polluting gasses that will spoil our fresh water?

    Quantock residents need to WAKE UP to the realities of fracking in this region.


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