Cabinet vows to protect beauty site

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019 3:57pm

By Andrew Morris - Local Democracy Reporter

Council bosses have vowed to do all they can to protect one of a region’s best known beauty spots.

Shropshire Council’s Cabinet voted unanimously to adopt a new management plan for the Shropshire Hills at a meeting on Wednesday.

Councillor Lezley Picton, cabinet member for leisure, described the area as “the jewel in the crown” of the county and said she would do all she can to protect them and encourage visitors.

She said: “It is something beautiful on our doorstep and something the council hasn’t always looked after well enough or given enough priority to.
“It is one of the jewels, if not the jewel in the crown of Shropshire.”

The cabinet has adopted a management plan, stating: “The natural beauty of the Shropshire Hills landscape is conserved, enhanced and helped to adapt – by sympathetic land management, by co-ordinated action and by sustainable communities; and is valued for its richness of geology, wildlife and heritage, and its contribution to prosperity and wellbeing.”

A report to the cabinet by director of place Mark Barrow, said: “The Shropshire Hills AONB Management Plan 2019-2024 sets out the priorities for conserving and enhancing the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for the next five years.

“The AONB is a statutory designation to conserve and enhance natural beauty covering 23 per cent of Shropshire and has been in place since 1958. The Management Plan is a statutory requirement and is produced jointly with Telford & Wrekin Council through the AONB Partnership – a Joint Advisory Committee.

“The plan has been developed in partnership with a range of stakeholders and was made available for public consultation from November 2018 to January 2019. Formal approval is by the two local authorities.”

He added: “A public online survey was carried out during April and May 2018.

“With over 200 responses, the survey revealed a high degree of support for the primary purpose to ‘conserve and enhance’ the AONB.

“The most valued characteristics of the Shropshire Hills were dramatic views and wide panoramas, opportunities to walk and explore, wildlife and relatively natural areas, peace and quiet and a chance to unwind.

“Top concerns were the loss/neglect of habitats and wildlife, inappropriate new built development, losing the Shropshire Hills’ distinctive character, the quality of water and condition of rivers.

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