Quantocks at risk from proposed funding cuts

Somerset County Council announce plans to cut 89% of their funding contribution.

A message from the Quantock Hills Joint Advisory Committee Chairman:

Somerset County Council have announced plans to cut 89% of their contribution to the 4 Somerset Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) including the Quantock Hills for the year 2015/16. This will mean that the annual grant to the Quantock Hills AONB Partnership is reduced from £21,500 to under £2000.

If agreed these cuts will have serious implications for the future management of the Quantock Hills AONB. Funding to conserve and enhance the Quantock Hills is based upon a partnership agreement between Somerset County Council, Taunton Deane Borough Council, Sedgemoor District Council, West Somerset Council and Defra. Should this cut be agreed it is likely to put pressure on the District Councils to also reduce their grants; cuts by any of the local funding partners will affect the AONB's Partnerships ability to draw down the Defra grant which pays 75% of funding, and is dependant on this partnership agreement.

In real terms it would mean:
• Reduction in work carried out to protect the heathland and ancient oak woodlands and associated biodiversity/wildlife
• Reduction in the staff resource at the AONB Service
• Reduction in partnership working with farmers and other interested bodies and organisations
• Loss of Quantock Hills access to regional and national funding, usually for socio-economic projects e.g. Stepping up to the Market.
• Reduction in volunteer opportunities
• Loss of management associated with access and recreation on the hills.
• Reduction in sensitive promotion of the area as a tourism destination
• Loss of opportunities to develop the health & wellbeing benefits of the Quantock Hills for physical and mental health.
• Loss of direct delivery of targeted projects through external funding such as landscape scale biodiversity enhancement funded by compensation funding associated with infrastructure development.
• Loss of protection for local heritage assets
• Loss of reactive and safety work in times of severe weather

The proposed saving by Somerset County Council represents less than 0.002% of the council's budget, which equates to less than 10p per head per annum for Somerset's taxpayers. For every £1 SCC give to the AONB Service, a further £15 is generated in additional funding.

Since 2010 the Quantock Hills AONB Partnership has already managed 50% funding cuts from it's local authority partners. This has led to a reduction in staffing, reduction in project funding, reduction in educational and outreach work undertaken and a reduction in the community based SDF fund.

Confirmation of the proposal will be made at Somerset County Council's Full Council meeting on 19th February; if the proposal is not withdrawn a decision will be made by the County Council in February 2015 and the funds withdrawn from 1st of April that year.

All work carried out by the Quantock Hills AONB Service is on behalf of the Quantock Hills Joint Advisory Committee: http://www.quantockhills.com/about-quantock .

Cllr Anthony Trollope-Bellew
Chairman Joint Advisory Committee, Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty


Photo: Lorraine Carpenter, winner of 2013 Quantock Photographic Competition


Katy Coate - February 2014


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Annual Reports

View Annual reports from the Quantock AONB Service

Greater Quantock Landscape Development Fund

The Quantock Hills AONB Service now has a Greater Quantock Landscape Development Fund providing grants of up to £20,000 to local communities, farmers, landowners and individuals. The fund has been provided by EDF Energy and is part of the mitigation measures associated with the Hinkley Point C development.

Information leaflets

Find out more about the geology of the Quantock Hills AONB, why the heathland is so important for birds, the red deer on the Quantocks and why the history of the landscape is so special.

Other organisations and activities in the Quantocks

A few things you might find interesting from organisations we work with in the Quantocks

Photography Competition Entry Form

Please down load and return with your fabulous entries

Policys and Codes of Conduct

Everyone enjoys spending their time on the hills doing different activities. Below are some guidance and policy documents to ensure they are carried out safely and that wider regulations are followed.

Quantock Deer Count Results

Annual deer count results for 2010 to 2017

Quantock Hills and Planning

Downloadable documents for you to better understand the Quantock AONB and planning processes

Quantock Hills Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) Papers 2014 - 2017

Papers from the partnership committee the Joint Advisory Committee

Quantock Hills Management Plan 2014 - 2019

This is the the Quantock Hills Management Plan 2014 - 2019. It will guide work carried out to protect and enhance the Quantock Hills by the AONB team and all our partners. It has been agreed by the Secretary of State for the Environment and adopted by Somerset County Council, West Somerset Council, Sedgemoor District Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council.

Quantock Hills Visitor Guide

Quantock Hills Visitor Guide

Recreation Leaflets

a full range of leaflets from circular walks to event guides and leaflets to allow you to enjoy the best of the hills

Terms and Conditions for Quantock Hills Facebook page

Terms and Conditions for http://www.facebook.com/Quantock.hills

Tick Leaflet

Ticks are becoming more common and a bite from this spider-like parasite could lead to Lyme Disease. This is a treatable infection caused by bacterium transmitted by ticks when they bite. Not every tick carries Lyme Disease and it is important to realise that the disease is relatively rare.


Useful Contacts

Quantock AONB Service
Tel: 01823 451 884

Somerset Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01823 652 400

National Trust
Tel: 01823 451 814

Forestry Commission
Tel: 01278 732 319