The designation of tracts of land for nature and landscape conservation has been a mainstay of countryside policy. However, its continued relevance in the light of policy trends towards sectoral and spatial integration has been questioned. Focusing principally on experience in the United Kingdom, this review considers the impact and effectiveness of designations from a number of perspectives. It concludes that, whilst on balance they remain broadly fit for purpose and good value for money, they will increasingly need to be embedded in land-use strategies which are more responsive to changing social needs and environmental conditions
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