Cornwall AONB Annual Conference 2016 - “Landscapes with benefits”
NB. A full set of proceedings will be available in due course.
The Cornwall AONB Partnership hosted our 2016 annual conference at Bedruthan Steps Hotel on Saturday 7th May with resounding success. The Conference was entitled ‘Landscapes with Benefits’ and the day sought to explore all of the benefits to people of Cornwall’s protected landscape – benefits such as physical and mental health and well-being, ecosystems services and the benefits to Cornwall’s economy.
A great emphasis was placed upon Cornwall’s ‘Natural Capital’ - in other words, the stock of Cornwall’s nature that provides people and business with services. Services such as pollinations, food production, flood prevention and climate regulation. The conference aimed to explore the potential risks and opportunities to Cornwall’s economy of continuing declines in Cornwall’s nature.
The conference began with a warm welcome and introduction by Dr Robert Kirby-Harris, Chairman of the Cornwall AONB Partnership and a stunning film of Cornwall from the air, shot by drone camera. The proceedings were formally opened by Steve Double MP who spoke clearly about the importance of protected landscapes to Cornwall and government’s commitment to them now and in the future. The conference was also attended by Scott Mann MP for North Cornwall who listened with interest to the speakers.
Reflecting on the past year and looking ahead, Colette Beckham, Cornwall AONB Partnership Manager highlighted the recent production of the Cornwall AONB Management Plan 2016-2021 and the focus within the new plan on ‘health and happiness’ and ‘investing in nature’.
The keynote speakers were Jonathon Jones, Managing Director of Trade, Tregothnan Estate and Prof. Kevin Gaston, Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Nature Partnership and Director of the Environmental Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter who complemented each other perfectly, giving fascinating perspectives on the economic benefits of trading from a protected landscape and the state of ‘natural capital’ in the Cornwall AONB.
In the afternoon, delegates got an opportunity to attend some very illuminating workshops which included a guided relaxation meditation session on the lawns of the Bedruthan Steps Hotel and a healthy walk over Carnewas, led by the National Trust. Inside the hotel, delegates learnt about 'Building a Sustainable Business in a Natural Environment' from the Red Hotels Group; 'Water Resource Management', led by the West Country Rivers Trust and 'The Health and Well-being Benefits of the Outdoors', led by the European Centre for Environment and Human Health and Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
The day was closed to the powerful strains of Cornish men singing ‘Cornwall My Home’ as attendees reflected on a really thought provoking day and what Cornwall’s landscape means to them.