Email Update October 2011

Mendip Hills AONB Annual Forum 10th November – Benefits of a well managed landscape. Understanding the unique character of the area and how it functions are important to ensuring the area is conserved and enhanced. Guest speakers include local businesses and Manda Brookman of CoaST- One Planet tourism. To book a place please go to the Partnership page of our web site http://www.mendiphillsaonb.org.uk/partnership-committee/ where you will find the Programme and Booking Form

The NAAONB 2011 AGM took place Friday 14th October. The NAAONB Business Plan 2012-2015 was agreed. Defra Parliamentary Under Secretary, Richard Benyon MP recorded a message for the AONB Family. He complimented the AONB Family on its cohesion and the quality of its work at a local level. He also commended the continuing excellent work of the tri-partite partnership between NE, Defra and the NAAONB. The Minister’s presentation can be viewed on YouTube by clicking on the following link
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MCSeGswqCc A transcript of the presentation will be available shortly.

Could protected landscapes have a leading role to play in the sustainable management of natural resources – could there be a case for re-evaluating the original purposes of protected areas such as National Parks and AONBs to reinforce their strategic role in the management of the UKs land and water resources? Relu – Rural Economy and Land Use programme latest Policy and Practice Notes reports on findings from latest Relu research projects. www.relu.ac.uk  Note No 33 Sept 2011

Following a presentation by the AONB Manager to Bath Spa University 3rd year geography students a student will be undertaking a dissertation to assess the economic value of tourism in the Mendip Hills AONB. The work is to be completed by May 2012.
Following announcement by National Grid of its preferred route through the AONB a press release has been issued by the AONB Unit http://www.mendiphillsaonb.org.uk/2011/10/11/national-grid%e2%80%99s-proposed-overhead-power-lines/ The AONB Unit is investigating the recovery of costs from National Grid of its time spent on attending meetings, advising local authority partners and making responses to consultations under a Planning Performance Agreement.
 
Sedgemoor District Council’s Core Strategy was adopted by the Council on 12th October having found to be ‘sound’ by a government inspector and that it provides an appropriate basis for the planning of the District up to 2027.
www.sedgemoor.gov.uk/corestrategy

National Planning Policy Framework -The Planning Liaison Officer has submitted a response to the government’s consultation supplementing the National Association’s submission highlighting Mendip Hills AONB issues including ‘dark skies’.
www.mendiphillsaonb.org.uk/planning/ and
www.southwestlandscapes.org.uk/Consultations.asp

For the first activity of their new programme the AONB Advanced Young Rangers joined Chris Sperring, of the Hawk and Owl Trust for an Owl Prowl. The group made the most of a fine, clear evening to visit a site near Charterhouse to listen for the presence of owls. The Hawk and Owl Trust’s project has been supported by the AONB Sustainable Development Fund. More info: http://www.hawkandowl.org/

The AONB Unit has recently taken on a new Volunteer Project Assistant.  Linda, a recent graduate, with experience volunteering for other environmental organisations has joined the AONB Unit for one day a week to assist with project work including research, site surveys and publicity. For more information on volunteering with the AONB Unit and to see the latest monthly report from the Volunteer Ranger team see the Volunteering pages of our website: http://www.mendiphillsaonb.org.uk/volunteering/

The 1 South West Project has completed a survey of off-road cycle routes in the Mendip Hills AONB along with other protected landscapes across the South West region.  The project has produced an on-line interactive map of routes available for off-road cycling with information on the condition of routes and a colour coded grading system.  There is also information on facilities such as bike hire, bike sales, guided rides and cycle friendly places to stay. The map also provides information on several ‘trail hubs’ in the south west providing routes and facilities specially developed for off-road cycling.  The nearest ‘trail hub’ to the Mendip Hills is at the Ashton Court Estate south of Bristol. http://www.1sw.org.uk/experience/trail-hubs/bristol/ For more information on the 1 South West project and to explore the on-line map of the Mendip Hills see: http://www.1sw.org.uk

The Mendip Hills AONB practical tasks volunteers recently ended the summer work programme with a litter pick down the length of Burrington Combe. Many ‘treasures’ were found including car wheel trims, exhausts and bumpers along with the usual suspects of fast food waste and crisp packets. The hard work of the volunteers resulted in 9 black bin bags being taken from site and the now clean area will hopefully lead others to act more responsibly and take their litter home.

The volunteers will continue to help carry out tasks throughout the winter period in the Mendip Hills AONB and recently we’ve started to talk to local town and parish councils to ensure we’re involved in the local areas. These tasks will be open to all with a focus on the local community coming along and lending a hand. Keep an eye out for a project in your area where you may be able to help.

For more information on volunteering with the Mendip Hills AONB Unit please contact Owen Jones at Mendipvolunteers@gmail.co.uk and take a look at the Mendip Hills AONB website http://www.mendiphillsaonb.org.uk/volunteering/ where you will find the new programme for November and December 2011.

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