Wednesday 15 November 2017
A new independent report on housing development in England's Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty shows that AONBs are under unprecedented pressure for housing development. Most of this pressure is being experienced by just a few AONBs, with 79% of all housing permitted in AONBs falling in just eight AONBs clustered in the South East and South West of England. The Chilterns is one of these; the data shows that planning permission has been granted for over 1,200 homes in the last 5 years in the Chilterns AONB. The full picture would be higher still, as the report’s data only included larger developments (ten or more homes).
Today we have published a position statement on the cumulative impacts of development in the Chilterns AONB, noting the multiple pressures upon this protected landscape from HS2, new housing, and expanded airports, all of which have implications for the natural beauty, health, intactness and tranquility of the landscape. Our position statement notes that:
- We will take the long view – incremental change over the next 50-100 years could, cumulatively, result in the loss of special qualities in the long term;
- We will take a holistic and landscape scale view of the place and our responsibilities for the place – protected landscapes are complex webs of interconnecting geology, ecology, heritage, natural capital and special features which do not function well ecologically or for society if many small pieces are lost
- To fulfil our primary duty, we will take a position on the total quantity of development, siting and quality of development, pressures from development such as water abstraction and traffic, and impacts on special qualities including noise and light pollution
- We cannot only consider each local authority’s need for development, we must consider total quantity of development, and the cumulative impacts of development, across the AONB and to all the special qualities.
Our report is available here.