The UK Government has given the green light for the expansion of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The plan will see the AONB expand by around 38 square kilometres – it says the last time an AONB was extended was the nearby Dedham Vale in 1991.
The area includes the Stour estuary, which is regarded as one of the most important wildlife estuaries in Europe and of international importance for the bird species of wildfowl and waders.
The extension is expected to bring benefits to the local area, enabling local businesses and tourist sites to promote the area as an AONB and access relevant grants, including for sustainable tourism.
Defra Secretary of State, George Eustice MP, said: “This landmark decision demonstrates our commitment to designating even more places for people and wildlife to enjoy.
“This milestone marks a significant step towards putting our ambitious 25 Year Environment Plan to leave the environment in a better state than we found it into action.”
Natural England Chair, Tony Juniper, commented: “We welcome this magnificent milestone and firmly believe in the benefits this extension to the AONB will bring, for the environment, the economy and the many people who will enjoy in perpetuity the stunning landscapes and natural treasures found here.”