New report shows Cotswolds AONB is good for business

A new report has been published which shows how being located in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) can provide many benefits for businesses, including in some cases, increased turnover.

The report entitled Assessment of the economic value of the Cotswolds AONB by Cumulus Consultants Ltd shows that the economy of the Cotswolds is diverse, prosperous and resilient, and that there is a positive relationship between many businesses and the high quality landscape and environment of the area.

Working on behalf of the Cotswolds Conservation Board, Broadway-based firm Cumulus Consultants and economists, ICF-GHK, surveyed businesses across all industry sectors throughout the Cotswolds for their views on how being located in the AONB makes a difference to their business. Responses were received from 166 businesses.

In terms of financial impacts, over half of all businesses surveyed indicated a positive impact on turnover arising from being in the AONB. This figure increased to 62% for tourism-related businesses, including 29% of businesses which suggested an increase in turnover by more than 15%.

Overall, 83% of the businesses surveyed felt that being in the AONB has a positive impact on their businesses, with very few indicating a negative impact.

Using economic data* for the Cotswolds AONB and feedback from the businesses surveyed, it can be estimated that around £260million of economic activity in the AONB, measured as Gross Value Added (GVA), and 7,500 jobs are ‘critically dependent’ on the high quality environment and landscape of the AONB.
In addition to the economic benefits, the AONB is considered to have a positive impact on the local economy in terms of raising the recognition of the area, encouraging sustainability and promoting local sourcing.

The report coincides with a similar study published this week undertaken by National Parks England and which looks at the contribution that the economies of the 10 English National Parks make both locally and nationally.

Cotswolds Conservation Board Director Martin Lane said: “We have long understood the value of the AONB in terms of its high quality landscape. These new research findings provide us with a valuable insight into the economic activity within the AONB and the associated benefits of the Cotswolds location. They highlight that the outstanding landscape is a major asset to our local communities and businesses and that there are a number of opportunities for us and other partners to seize, particularly in areas such as tourism and local produce.”

Member of Parliament for the Cotswolds, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, welcomed the new report: “These findings are great news for the Cotswolds and I welcome the publication of this new report. We are very fortunate to live and work in such a beautiful area and these figures help demonstrate how a healthy local economy is so intrinsically linked with a high quality, natural environment.”

Director of Cotswold Farm Park, Duncan Andrews, commented: “We are very proud to run our farming and tourism in the Cotswolds, an area rightly recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The quality of the local landscape is fundamental to the success of the Cotswold Farm Park, which attracts visitors from all over the world. We hope that this report will underpin the future protection of the AONB status, and lead to greater promotion of this unique and beautiful area.”

* Based on data from the ONS Business Register and Employment Survey 2011 and the ONS Annual Business Survey 2010.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • The full report ‘Assessment of the economic value of the Cotswolds AONB’ can be downloaded here.
  • Cumulus Consultants Ltd is a specialist consultancy working in the land and environment sector. For more information: www.cumulus-consultants.co.uk
  • The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape.
  • The Cotswolds AONB is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation established in 2004 which has 37 members - 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by the Secretary of State.
  • The Cotswolds is the second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. 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.
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), along with National Parks, are considered to be the most special landscapes in the country and belong to an international family of protected areas. There are 38 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland. For further details, visit: www.landscapesforlife.org.uk

For further enquiries: Nicola Greaves
Tel: 01451 862003 Email: nicola.greaves@cotswoldsaonb.org.uk