A chance to speak out for the Chilterns

In her recent Letter from Westminster in the Bucks Free Press, Rt Hon Dame Cheryl Gillan MP urged people in Chesham & Amersham to respond to a government call for evidence about the future of the Chilterns, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks

Should the Chilterns become the next new National Park?

Readers of this newspaper responded very positively to this idea in a poll earlier this year. Now you have the chance to put your views direct to the Government about it in a call for evidence. You have until 18 December 2018 and I want to urge as many people as possible to take part. Please try and send in your comments. The run-up to Christmas is really busy, but this is a chance to determine the future of the Chilterns landscape.

It is really easy to find the short questionnaire. If you type “Public to have say on new national parks” into your browser, this will take you through to the gov.uk website and the link to the questions. Individuals can have their say, as can businesses and organisations.

It’s an opportunity to say what you cherish about our very special and fragile landscapes like the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Two million people in the UK live within Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or National Parks – yet more than half of the population live within half an hour of such places, so they provide a welcome haven to many.

As Chesham & Amersham’s MP, I have recently met with Julian Glover, who chairs this inquiry, and I also meet regularly with Sue Holden, the chief executive of the Chiltern Conservation Board which runs the Chilterns AONB, in order to maintain the pressure to preserve the environment in the Chilterns for future generations to enjoy rather than see it disappear under overdevelopment.

Also as President of Bucks CPRE I know It is worth banging the drum for the Chilterns because the area will be under increased pressures from HS2 and the “arc of innovation” route from Oxford to Cambridge with the intention to build 1 million houses. What is done now will set the scene for the next 25 years.

You can start off by sending a photo of your special landscape – let’s have a whole gallery dedicated to the Chilterns!