State of the Environment

The AONB Management Plan includes 20 headline indicators which between them provide an insight into the environmental condition of the AONB.

These indicators form a baseline for monitoring future trends in condition, and will be used to inform future management of the area. They range from biodiversity indicators such as the number of water voles to measures of visitor satisfaction on rights of way and the number of Scheduled Ancient Monuments at risk.

A State of the Chilterns Environment Report will be produced on an annual basis during the life of the current Management Plan, using data collected for the indicators, to provide an up-to-date picture of the state of the Chilterns.

2012 Report Conclusions

This is the fourth year of publishing the State of the Chilterns Environment report and useful trend data is starting to emerge.

There are inevitably important aspects of the state of the Chilterns environment that are not readily reduced to a series of indicators – for example climate change and tranquillity – which are nonetheless likely to have an increasingly significant bearing on the quality of the Chilterns environment.  There are other changes looming – for example the impact of tree pests and diseases  – which are not currently  covered  by the indicators but which need to be.

It is good to see improving trends across a number of indicators, including:

  • Overall levels of management of woodlands in the Chilterns are good and improving, with steady increases in take up of English Woodland Grant Scheme
  • Good and increasing numbers of participants in Health Walks
  • Improved numbers of local wildlife/ local geological sites known to be in positive conservation management.
  • Farmland management through take up of Higher Level Stewardship

In other cases there are concerns about deteriorating trends or stalled progress, including:

  • Condition of chalk rivers  – all 9 chalk rivers failing to attain good ecological status or potential with negligible improvements anticipated to 2021.
  • Declines in overall coverage of agri-environment schemes, reflecting no doubt in part uncertainty regarding Common Agricultural Policy reform.
  • Long-term declines in livestock numbers giving rise to concerns over availability of suitable grazing animals for conservation sites.
  • Increases in numbers of listed buildings (Grad 1/11*) at risk.

If you would like to receive the Report on CD please contact or telephone 01844 355500


icon State of the Environment Report 2012

icon State of the Environment Report 2011

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