A coherent landscape planning process, drawing on expertise in the Cotswolds and the Mendips Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty teams as well as the local authorities, which will both be part of the development plan and guide change over time in the rural areas, and particularly in the AONBs. It should in particular set objectives agreed with the Forestry Commission for reforestation of the hillsides in a way which makes a substantive contribution to shorter-term carbon-neutral goals and sits well with Defra’s new Environmental Land Management scheme replacing the CAP, while remaining sympathetic to the long views which currently are such an attractive part of walks on high ground such as the South Stoke escarpment.
Why the contribution is important
The local economy is heavily dependent on tourism. And public and official focus is almost exclusively on the architectural and archaeological treasures of the City of Bath. However, as Colin Skellett points out, there is much to be gained from spreading visitor interest and visitor numbers into other parts of Bath and North East Somerset – a magical area where the Cotswolds and the Mendips Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty meet in a World Heritage City. Moreover, increasing virtual access to the City’s architectural and archaeological features is likely to erode the number of IRL visitors, especially in the lower budget categories, while visits to the rural areas cannot so easily be virtualised. Meanwhile, the character and appearance of much of the rural areas have been degraded over time. Well-guided change of this sort would encourage the growth of high-end tourism bringing well-paid jobs to the local economy (especially in the less-favoured rural areas), decrease the environmental impact of such tourism by spreading it more thinly, and improve the recreational experience and opportunities of local residents
by mosullivan on January 05, 2021 at 05:47PM