AONB To Take 5% Cut In Annual Budget

The AONB will be taking a cut of just over 5% in their annual budget, according to their 2011-2012 business plan, which went before Councillors at the recent Planning and Development Committee meeting.

This is as a result of large cuts to the Defra budget, which contributes a significant proportion of the overall AONB funding.

The AONB business plan set out the priorities for the organisation over the next year, including work to support commercial bee-keeping in Scilly, identifying overhead electricity cables that could be placed underground and protecting Scilly’s elm trees from Dutch Elm Disease by introducing controls on the import of timber products to the islands.

However, most comment at the committee meeting was reserved for the AONB-sponsored project “Pushing The Boundaries” which aims to protect the islands’ dry-stone walls.

Councillor Fred Ticehurst said he was pleased that attention was going to be given to the dry-stone walls on Scilly and hoped this would stop the destruction seen over the past years.

He described some fields as being turned into “sloughs of despond” and left “as hard as a whore’s heart” and requested that the AONB look at a programme of re-instatement of damaged walls.

The AONB will have core operating costs next year of just under £120,000 with a Sustainable Development Fund pot of £49,000. The Council will contribute around £20,000 to core costs, with the majority coming from Defra. Around £9,000 will come from the Duchy of Cornwall, Tresco Estate, Island Tourism and the Wildlife Trust.