Cotswolds Conservation Board chairman receives MBE award
Niel, who is 79 and from Selsley has spent over 37 years contributing to the effective management, conservation and enjoyment of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the country’s largest AONB and one of the most best known and loved protected landscapes in the UK.
He was appointed as chairman to the board by the Secretary of State, Defra in 2004 when the organisation was being established. He was reappointed for a second term of office by the Secretary of State in 2007. Niel was elected the Board's first Chairman and has been re-elected as Chairman by his peers since then.
Having successfully steered the establishment of the board, leading 37 members appointed by the Secretary of State, the Local Authorities and Parish Councils, Niel has championed the interests of the AONB and board at the local, national and international level. Niel is also Chairman of the board's Executive Committee.
Prior to the establishment of the board, Niel was chairman of the Cotswolds AONB Partnership, the forerunner to the Conservation Board, between 1999 and 2004, Chairman of the former Cotswolds AONB Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) between 1998 and 1999 and represented the National Farmers Union (NFU) on the JAC from 1971.
“This is a great honour for me and one which I am delighted to accept. I am immensely proud of the work and commitment of all members, staff and volunteers at the Cotswolds Conservation Board in looking after the AONB. It is often a challenging, yet rewarding role and one which I look forward to continuing in future years.”
The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is cared for by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation with 37 members, 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by Government.
The Government has designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks as our finest countryside and they are recognised as being of national importance.
With its rolling hills and valleys the Cotswolds is the largest of 40 AONBs in England and Wales and is protected to ensure that its beauty and special character are conserved. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.