Suffolk Coast and Heaths report for AONB supporters on the Shotley peninsula

  Posted: 27.02.21 at 13:08 by Simon Amstutz

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The River Blyth in Blythburgh photographed by Gill Moon

Welcome to the latest monthly update from the Coast & Heaths AONB and Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley.

In this edition we have news of significant grant awards to the AONB to help wildlife, updates on national infrastructure projects impacting the AONBs, and information on how to apply for a grant to support AONB purposes

Preliminary award of £254,177 for two projects in Coast & Heaths AONB

The AONB team, working in Partnership with the RSPB, have secured a grant of £196,767 from National Grid's Landscape Enhancement Initiative for a project at Minsmere.

The project will provide 440m of new easy access path, an extension to a hide, a new viewing platform, and enhanced wildlife habitat.


Additionally, a second project where the AONB team worked in partnership with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, RSPB, and a private landowner has seen a grant of £57,410 awarded from the same source.

The project at Snape Marshes, Aldringham Walks, North Warren and Hawsells Farm is to plant 700m new hedgerow and new woodland underplanting, enhanced heathland viewpoints and improved wildlife habitat and stock control.

Both awards are subject to final approval, which is anticipated to come in six weeks.

AONB grants open for applications

A £70,000 grants programme for projects to enhance the AONB’s environmental, economic and social wellbeing has opened.


The Sustainable Development Fund is available to individuals, groups, businesses and charities and has previously offered grants from around £500 to £5,000 for projects that meet the purposes of the nationally designated landscapes.

The following grants are now open for applications:

Coast & Heaths
• Accessibility and Amenity Fund - Closes 3rd March
• Galloper Wind Farm Fund - Closes 3rd March
• Sustainable Development Fund - Closes 17th May

Dedham Vale and Stour Valley
• Sustainable Development Fund - Closes 17th May
• Stour Valley Environment Fund

Please note the grants panel will be meeting slightly later than usual due rules limiting councillor activity due to scheduled elections. For more information on any of these grants, please email [email protected]

AONB extension area now has a Management Plan

Following the confirmation of an extended Coast & Heaths AONB by the Secretary of State on 7 July 2020 an Addendum to Coast & Heaths AONB Management Plan has been agreed by AONB Partners.

The document includes mapping, purpose of AONBs and Management Plan objectives

Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Management Plan 2021-26

The AONB Management Plan is a statutory document that will inform decision making in the nationally designated landscape for the next five years.

The AONB really needs your comment to ensure that the area is conserved and enhanced for the next five years. The draft Management Plan is available to download (PDF).

The consultation process is via a 15-minute online survey, or by emailing your comments on the draft document to [email protected]

The deadline for your feedback is Monday 5th April 2021 at midday.

Value of AONBs

Following some national research, analysis of AONB funding revealed that across the 34 AONBs in England they had received a grant of £6.6M (the budget of a large secondary school) but more than doubled that to £13.8M in actual spending due to grant receipts.

If the value of volunteer labour facilitated by AONB teams and the landscapes contribution to the visitor economy is factored in, AONBs provide good value for money to society (Adults in England and Wales contribute about 18p a year for AONBs).

Changes to Sizewell C Proposals and Preliminary Hearing

Changes to the proposed Sizewell C development have been published on the Planning Inspectorate website.

The Examining Authority has not formally accepted these changes as material or non-material and will not formally accept or reject them until during the Preliminary Examination, due to be held on 23 March and 14 April.

The AONB Partnership consider the proposed changes will have an increased significant impact on the defined qualities of the nationally designated landscape.

For more information please see the AONB Partnership response to the earlier EDF Energy consultation on the proposed changes or visit the Planning Inspectorate website.

Beachwatch Results 2020

Despite the pandemic Beachwatch 2020 went ahead, albeit in a limited manner. An amazing 325g of litter was cleared from the coast and estuaries by 158 volunteers following Covid-safe procedures.

Reflecting a trend seen in previous years, the majority of litter collected, 73.1%, was made up of plastic or polystyrene.

Offshore Wind Farm Developments

The decision of the UK Secretary of State to grant the application for development consent for Vattenfall’s Norfolk Vanguard offshore wind farm has been quashed following an order issued by the High Court on 18 February.

This decision may have impacts for proposals for current applications for wind farms off the Coast & Heaths AONB.

Update on Dedham Vale AONB activity to support Nature Recovery

Using funding from Natural England, the Dedham Vale AONB has supported several woodland management projects to benefit its iconic species, the Hazel Dormouse.

12 Swift boxes and 2 ‘callers’ have been installed and the Natural England funding will support the installation of a further 62 boxes. Three stag beetle pyramids will be built across the Dedham Vale by the end of March 2021.

[BHow to help Coast & Heaths AONB Flagship Species, the Redshank

With the support of Natural England, and in Partnership with Essex and Suffolk Wildlife Trusts, and the RSPB, volunteers will be out over the coming months to talk to walkers about how to help the Coast & Heaths flagship species, the Redshank.

You can find out more information on our website, including a downloadable postcard and more on how to identify and help Redshanks.

Suffolk Coast featuring on Channel 5

Look out for the Suffolk Coast appearing on Kate Humble’s Coastal Britain TV programme on Friday nights, available via streaming services.

For more details and to follow the Coast & Heaths AONB on social media

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