First AONB granted approval since 1991: The green light for the expansion of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has been given by the UK Government.

The new AONB plan will expand the existing area by around 38 square kilometres – the nearby Dedham Vale in 1991 was the last time an AONB was extended it says.

The Stour estuary area is included in the plan, which is of international importance for wildfowl and waders bird species and regarded as one of the most important wildlife estuaries in Europe.

Expected to bring benefits to the local area, the extension will allow tourist sites and local businesses to promote the area as an AONB and access relevant grants, including for sustainable tourism.

George Eustice MP, Defra Secretary of State, said: “This landmark decision demonstrates our commitment to designating even more places for people and wildlife to enjoy.

“This milestone marks a significant step towards putting our ambitious 25 Year Environment Plan to leave the environment in a better state than we found it into action.”

Tony Juniper, Natural England Chair, commented: “We welcome this magnificent milestone and firmly believe in the benefits this extension to the AONB will bring, for the environment, the economy and the many people who will enjoy in perpetuity the stunning landscapes and natural treasures found here.”

First AONB granted approval since 1991

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