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Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives. 

It’s a simple message, and we should all be following the guidelines set out by the Government. If you don’t know them yet, or you aren’t clear, have another look here.

Under normal circumstances, we would be encouraging everybody to get outside, get some fresh air, get walking, start exploring. But these aren’t normal circumstances. At the moment, we would urge everyone to do the opposite: stay at home, don’t drive unless it’s essential, do your part. There have been a number of reports locally and nationally of people driving to enjoy beauty spots or to access their exercise, or gathering in groups in parks or areas of countryside. Please don’t do this. Please stay in your local area to get out in the fresh air, or to go for a walk/run/cycle. Please be responsible.

When all this is over, the national landscapes of the UK, our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, will be throwing their arms wide open to welcome visitors back. But for now, we are all asking everyone to

Stay at Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.


COVID-19: Update 24/3/20

Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address to the nation last night (23/3/20) we have now amended our working practices further.

In line with the latest guidance from UK government, the Cotswolds Conservation Board team will now be working from home until further notice. The office will not be open, but it will be staffed by one team member from 10am – 3pm, Mondays to Thursdays.

Please bear with us as we adapt to these new working practices, and as we try to keep up with phone calls. If you are able to email the colleague you need and exchange direct phone numbers, that would be very helpful. All available email addresses are here.

As this situation progresses, we will aim to post all our updates on the Latest News page of our website, and on Facebook and Twitter.


COVID-19 – office update

Following the latest guidance from UK government, the Cotswolds Conservation Board team will now largely be working from home. We will have alternating skeleton crews in the office from Monday 23rd March. All employees will work from home on Fridays until further notice.

Please bear with us as we adapt to these new working practices, and as we try to keep up with phone calls. If you are able to email the colleague you need and exchange direct phone numbers, that would be very helpful. All available email addresses are here.

As this situation progresses, we will aim to post all our updates on the Latest News page of our website, and on Facebook and Twitter.


COVID-19 – Guided Walks Postponed from March 19th Until Further Notice

Cotswolds Conservation Board is closely monitoring the situation with regards to the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes close attention to the latest guidance from the WHO (World Health Organisation), as well as from UK authorities.

In light of Government guidance for the Covid-19 pandemic to avoid non-essential social contact, we have taken steps to cancel the Cotswold Wardens walks programme from end of the day on Thursday March 19 until further notice.

Please check the website for updates, but subject to any changing advice, please try out one of our many self-guided walks that can be found at https://www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk/visiting-and-exploring/walking/self-guided-walks/


Cotswolds Conservation Board brings quarry stakeholders together

Photograph of Guiting Quarry (Copyright: Paul Keyte, The Johnston Quarry Group)

The Cotswolds Conservation Board has initiated and organised a quarry stakeholder meeting relating to the cluster of eight quarries between Naunton and Toddington in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The meeting was held on 29th January at Toddington Village Hall and was attended by 43 participants, including representatives from the quarry operators, parish councils, local authorities and the Conservation Board.

One of the special qualities of the Cotswolds AONB that makes the area so unique and distinctive is the unifying character of the limestone geology, including its use as a building material. However, ensuring a sufficient supply of this building material depends on having a sufficient level of quarrying within the AONB. In addition, there is demand for this stone as a building material outside the AONB, as well as demand for other quarry products, such as aggregate and lime.  The challenge is to get the right balance between providing these quarry products and conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the AONB as a whole.

Getting the right balance is particularly challenging in the Naunton-Toddington area, where eight quarries operate in close proximity to each other and where the associated lorry movements are on minor roads and B roads passing through rural villages and parishes. This close proximity means that the potential cumulative impact of the quarries is a key issue, which needs to be addressed in a holistic way.

The purpose of the quarry stakeholder meeting was to bring together relevant stakeholders to find out if there was consensus on the need for a holistic approach across this quarry cluster and, if so, what this holistic approach might mean in practice. The meeting was run by an independent facilitator to help ensure that it provided a positive forum for discussion and debate.

Speaking about the meeting, John Mills, Planning and Landscape Officer at the Cotswolds Conservation Board, said, “We were delighted that this meeting was so well attended by representatives from key businesses and organisations relating to quarrying in the area. The meeting proved to be a helpful discussion which improved knowledge and understanding around quarrying, and addressed a number of key questions about the issues that arise from it. We also spoke constructively about how we might work on these issues together in the future.”

Paul Keyte, from the Johnston Group (who are involved with two of the quarries in this cluster) said, “We were pleased to participate in the stakeholders meeting about the area around our quarries.  We believe all parties would benefit from good engagement helping to understand each other better. We know our quarries are part of the local community and going forward we want to be the best neighbours we can be.”

Temple Guiting Parish Council said, “We welcome the Cotswold Conservation Board’s initiative to bring together relevant stakeholders to review the challenges quarrying can bring to the AONB, particularly to communities in the North Cotswolds. We support local quarrying for the production of local limestone to preserve the heritage of this area, in particular for dry stone walling and building. We look forward to continuing to work with the Board on the next steps, which should give all parties greater understanding of the industry and its improved interactions with our local communities.”

It is anticipated that the next step will be to set up a steering group to take forward the ideas and suggested actions that were discussed at the quarry stakeholder meeting.

 

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • Please contact Alana Hopkins at hopkins@cotswoldsaonb.org.uk / 01451 862 003 for further information or interview opportunities.
  • The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape. www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk
  • The Cotswolds Conservation Board’s purposes are to:
    -conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the Cotswolds AONB
    -increase understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the AONB, ensuring that these complement the conservation and enhancement of the area
  • 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 third largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks 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.
  • The land management position statements are for use by local authorities, government agencies, land agents, advisers, land managers, farmers and the public. They, along with the planning and transport position statements are available on the Cotswolds Conservation Board’s website.
  • 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 details of the 13 National Parks in England and Wales visit: www.nationalparks.gov.uk.
  • A report of the quarry stakeholder meeting is available from the Cotswolds Conservation Board upon request.

 


Press release: Board launches new landscape enhancement project

This month, the Cotswolds Conservation Board has initiated a new two year project – the Cotswolds AONB Rail Corridor Enhancement Project – funded by Network Rail, which aims to address the adverse impacts of electrification works which have been carried out along a 10km section of the Great Western Main Line railway.

The funding has been provided to develop, manage, and deliver the work, which will focus on two key areas:

  • Line-side planting and other schemes which help to mitigate the visual and landscape impact of the electrification works, within a 6km-wide corridor

and

  • Schemes across a wider area of the Cotswolds AONB, to compensate for the adverse impacts of the electrification works by contributing to the Board’s statutory purposes.

The Conservation Board anticipates that most of the funding will be allocated through a grant programme. This will involve working in partnership with local landowners and communities, with a core focus along the 10km stretch of railway line between Old Sodbury and Alderton in the South Gloucestershire section of the AONB.

The project will be run by a new team member at the Conservation Board – Project Officer Scott Brown. Scott will be working with the Conservation Board in a part time role, and comes to the Board from the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE), an organisation which raises funds and allocates grant for environmental projects in the county. Scott will also continue to work part time as TOE’s Development Officer. In this role, Scott has helped develop a strategic plan to ‘scale-up’ TOE’s activities; as well as leading on the development of TOE’s biodiversity net gain programme, which has secured over £300,000 from developers to fund habitat creation and enhancement projects. This programme built on TOE’s successful Network Rail biodiversity offsetting programme, which allocated approximately £800,000 for habitat projects in Oxfordshire and Berkshire. Scott’s previous roles have included working for the Environment Agency and Defra in stakeholder engagement roles.

Speaking about his appointment, Scott said:  “I’m delighted to have joined the Cotswolds Conservation Board team.  The Project Officer role will dovetail well with my current position at the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment, my experience is well suited to this new role, and I am excited to start working with communities in the area.”

Andy Parsons, Chief Executive of the Cotswolds Conservation Board said, “We’re pleased to welcome Scott to the Board. We were delighted to have secured the funding from Network Rail for this project, and hope that people across the AONB will engage with Scott and the grant programme to help us take care of this beautiful landscape.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • Please contact Alana Hopkins at hopkins@cotswoldsaonb.org.uk / 01451 862 003 for further information or interview opportunities.
  • The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape. www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk
  • The Cotswolds Conservation Board’s purposes are to:
    -conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the Cotswolds AONB
    -increase understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the AONB, ensuring that these complement the conservation and enhancement of the area
  • 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 third largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks 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.
  • The land management position statements are for use by local authorities, government agencies, land agents, advisers, land managers, farmers and the public. They, along with the planning and transport position statements are available on the Cotswolds Conservation Board’s website.
  • 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 39 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland.  For further details, visit: www.landscapesforlife.org.uk. For details of the 13 National Parks in England and Wales visit: www.nationalparks.gov.uk