06 - NAAONB Conference 2012 - William Worsley CLA and Local Landowner
William WorsleyCLA and Local Landowner
The role of landowners in delivering Lawton in conjunction with AONB partnerships William Worsley
Change in the environment is notnew, and is not the issue. Whatis new and of great concern isthe pace and scale of thechanges that modern societynow places on the environment
This will require strong leadershipfrom government, but is not a job forgovernment alone.
It will require effective and positive engagementwith the landowners and land managers.And it will need improved collaboration betweenlocal authorities, local communities, statutoryagencies, the voluntary and private sectors,farmers, other land-managers and individualcitizens.
In recent times, management of land hasoften focused on the delivery of a singleprocess or ecosystem service – food, forexample, or timber.
As human impact on the environmentincreases, we will need to learn how tomanage land (and water) to deliver multipleservices from a given area so that, forexample, we achieve profitable andproductive farming whilst at the same timeadopting practices which enhance carbonstorage and slow the flow of flood waters andsupport wildlife.
It is obvious that statutory agencies with responsibility for theenvironment, and the voluntary conservation sector will both play akey role in delivering our vision.Just as important, however, is the role of private landowners, landmanagers and farmers, many of whom invest resources inenhancing wildlife over and beyond the funding they receive throughincentive schemes.It is therefore important to engage effectively and positively with thissector. Our vision will only be achieved if society recognises therealities of managing the land and the true costs involved.If we decide as a society what we want, and put the right incentivesin place, then the private land sector will provide many of thesolutions.
Private land has enormous potential to delivermany of the enhancements to the network that areneeded. Just as landowners can play an importantrole as effective stewards of existing wildlifehabitats, we believe that they should also beproperly rewarded to do more to create newhabitats.
This is a long-term commitment. Extending existing taxincentives to encourage the creation, improvement andlong-term maintenance of wildlife habitats out of privateresources would, we believe, be justified by the resultingenvironmental and social benefits.Landowners could be encouraged to respond to thechallenge by the promise of reliefs from capital taxation nomore generous than those that farmers and the owners offamily businesses have been routinely allowed for manyyears. Income tax incentives might also play a useful part.
Lawton Report - Recommendation 20. Governmentshould consider extending tax incentives toencourage landowners to make long-termcommitments to the creation of new wildlife habitatsthat benefit ecological networks.
AONB - With their origins in the 1949 NationalParks and Access to the Countryside Act, AONBsare designated primarily to conserve and enhancethe natural beauty of the landscape. They also havetwo secondary aims: to meet the need for quietenjoyment of the countryside and to have regard forthe interests of those who live and work within them.11.8% of the area of AONBs is also SSSI
Key messages1. The value of looking at environmental landmanagement on a landscape scale and the importantrole that estates play in this, as they have large areasof land under the management control of one owner2. The importance of understanding the realities ofmanaging the land and the true costs involved3. Work with landowners and encourage, help andsupport them – the value of AONBs as facilitators