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