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Event Reports: Landscapes for Life Conference 2019

The Landscapes for Life Conference 2019 was held in Colchester. If you were there, we hope you’re still feeling inspired by the talks, workshops, site visits and networking opportunities. If you didn’t make it, you can catch a flavour of what went on from this event report. We’ve uploaded interviews with almost all of the speakers to YouTube and you can find the links below. 

The conference concluded with NAAONB Chief Executive Howard Davies making the Colchester Declaration #Declaration4Nature. This is our pledge for nature: to protect what remains and restore what has been lost.

Click here for a reminder of the L4L Conference 2019 Programme (please note this was accurate at the time of publishing, changes may have been made on the day). 

Landscapes for life Conference 2019 - thank you!

First and foremost, we need to say a huge thank you to the team at the Dedham Vale AONB and Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB Partnerships for being such welcoming hosts and doing such an amazing job organising the conference. Special thanks must go to Deborah Sage who did so much of the organising and made sure we all knew what was happening and where to be with the fantastic email updates. 

Landscapes for life Conference 2019 - sponsors!

It would not have been possible to have held such a fantastic conference without the support of the following sponsors.

L4L2019 Sponsors.png

The Bowland Award

Congratulations to the Chichester Harbour Education Service, winners of this year’s Bowland Award. 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the Education Service, which since its inception in 1999 has benefited an estimated 150,000 people.

Bowland Award Winner 2019.jpgBowland Award Winner 2019 - Chichester Harbour 2.jpg

Well done and thank you to Surrey Hills AONB Partnership for their Surrey Unearthed arts project, Kent Downs AONB Partnership for The Ash Project, Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership for Coast Care, Dorset AONB Partnership for the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership and Malvern Hills AONB Partnership for the Three Counties Traditional Orchards Project.

Site Visit Reports

Site Visit 1 Natural Beauty, Designation, Mapping and Process   

Site Visit 2 Natural Beauty, Special Qualities and Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment

Site Vist 3 Cultural Elements of Natural Beauty as an Economic and Visitor Asset

Site Visit 4 Natural Beauty and Natural Capital

Site Visit 5 Enhancing Natural Beauty Through Management

Site Visit 6 Enhancing Special Qualities

Site Visit 7 Nature Recovery as an Approach to Enhancing Natural Beauty

Workshop Presentations

Ian Marshall, NAAONB - Nature recovery in AONBs – how can we establish coherent and resilient ecological networks?

Diana Manson & Maria Grant, LUC - Maps, monitoring and money: How designated landscapes play an important part in the delivery of public good.

Olivier de Sadeleer, EUROPARC Federation - Integrating climate change into nature conservation practice in Europe: State of affairs and opportunities.

Visual Scribing

At L4L2019, David Vignolli, Creative Director at Visual Scribing, created the fantastic green and black images live during proceedings. These can be downloaded below (if higher resolution versions are required, please contact 

L4L Conference 2019      The Colchester Declaration      Bowland Award Winner 2019

Landscapes for Life Week

This year’s 'Landscapes for Life Week' will take place 21-29 September and we’re all invited to take part.

We’re hoping that all AONBs will be able to run at least one event to mark the week, in the 70th anniversary year of the Access to the Countryside Act, and all AONBs will be invited to take part in a national ‘moment’ at 2pm on 21 September. The idea is to get as many people creating hearts in the landscape at that time and sharing them via social media. We’d like AONBs to create hearts, but also to spread the word in their newsletters and local media (template press releases coming soon) to get other organisations and members of the public involved too. Conference did their bit as you can see below!

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs sent a video address to conference warmly welcoming the AONBs joint statement of intent on the recovery of nature, the Colchester Declaration.
He also welcomed some notable recent successes delivered by AONBs: the Lincolnshire Chalk Streams project which has conserved 29km of rivers and 45km of surrounding habitats conserved; and the Northern Upland Chain which has seen three AONBs and two National Parks working together to recover hay meadows and conserve curlews, which were added to the ‘red list’ of endangered UK birds in 2017. 

Julian Glover, Chair of the Designated Landscapes Review Panel spoke about the visits he and the other panel members have made to AONBs and some of the suggestions they will be making in the report, due to come out in the autumn.  

Dame Fiona Reynolds, Member of the Panel for the Review of Designated Landscapes spoke about AONBs being the ‘big reveal’ for the panel members – fantastic landscapes and teams doing so much with so little. Her talk was on our human need for beauty, our entitlement to experience it and the challenge of putting beauty back on the agenda.

Craig Bennett, Chief Executive Officer of Friends of the Earth spoke about Friends of the Earth’s aim to double tree cover in the UK to combat climate change and provide ecosystems services.

He also introduced their Space for Nature video, voiced by Benjamin Zephaniah.

Nigel Dudley of the IUCN spoke about the global picture for protected landscapes and how AONBs can respond.

Margaret Paren, Chair of National Parks England spoke of the importance of designated landscapes working closely together.

Lucy Barron, Trustee of The National Association for AONBs, and Manager of Arnside & Silverdale AONB Partnership reflected on the future for AONBs.

Howard Davies, Chief Executive of The National Association for AONBs thanked the team at Colchester for hosting us so well and summarised the conference. Concluding that nature recovery is central to the role of designated landscapes. Fitting message to celebrate the anniversary of the 70th anniversary of the 1949 act. We’ve set ourselves stretching targets as part of the Colchester Declaration, our statement of intent on the recovery of nature, which recognises the challenged of both climate change and the biodiversity crisis.

Philip Hygate, Chairman of the National Association for AONBs challenged delegates at the start of conference to ‘Be Bold’. He summarised his feelings about conference.