Natural England announced Thursday 24 June that the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is to be considered for boundary expansion. Securing this designation would allow the area to benefit from greater protections, so that more of England’s beautiful landscapes are safeguarded for future generations.
On the doorstep of London, an extension to the Surrey Hills AONB boundary would give greater access to the natural environment. This would help preserve its rural heritage, promote tranquillity and give more access to nature for the benefit of people’s health and well-being.
The Independent reports researchers for Natural England carried out a comprehensive survey of the role different types of natural habits in Britain play in capturing carbon from the atmosphere, looking at forests, grasslands, heathlands, salt marshes and seagrass meadows and how much they store in their soils, sediment and vegetation.
They found that undisturbed woodlands and peat bogs had the highest rates of carbon sequestration, with a hectare of ancient woodland capable of storing the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide each year that would be emitted from 13 plane journeys between London and Rome. A 10-metre deep fenland peat bog can store eight times as much carbon as the equivalent area of tropical rainforest.
The Guardian reports Natural England chair bemoans budget cuts that have left conservation body ‘massively depleted’. The reserves and protected places that are the “jewels in the crown” of English nature cannot be managed properly because of budget cuts, Tony Juniper, the chair of Natural England, has said.