By James Durkin

A LEADING review of areas of outstanding national beauty has recommended further assessment of Dorset for National Park designation.

The findings in the Glover Landscapes Review, an independent review launched by government, have been welcomed by the Dorset & East Devon National Park Team (DEDNPT), which is working towards gaining National Park status.

A statement from DEDNPT said: "We consider Dorset & East Devon as the outstanding candidate to be England’s next National Park.

"This is shown by the wide-ranging evidence provided to Natural England since 2013 and then to the Glover Review by the National Park Team and the proposal’s many partners and supporters.

"The team looks forward to Natural England’s further assessment and consideration of the case for National Park designation.

"We encourage Natural England to begin this work as soon as possible."

The Glover Review concluded Dorset, the Cotswolds and the Chilterns were all strong candidates to be considered for National Park status.

"We suggest Natural England and ministers consider the case for each," the report added.

Earlier this year, Dorset Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) also produced a report backing National Park status.

The proposed park would cover the whole of the current Dorset and East Devon AONBs, as well as Purbeck and Egdon Heath.

The Glover Review recognised Dorset "contains some of the greatest concentrations of biodiversity in Britain and opportunities for enjoyment.

"It includes the Jurassic World Heritage site."

Meanwhile, the DEDNPT team added: "We welcome the review’s emphasis on the vital contributions which National Parks can make to thriving and sustainable communities and rural economies, and to health and wellbeing for residents and visitors.

"And we support the review’s call for designated landscapes to play a vital role in nature recovery networks and in the response to climate change.

"We support their call for national funding for this vital work to be sustained and increased.

"In the 70th anniversary year of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, we look forward to continuing to work with councils and other stakeholders, and with Natural England and DEFRA, to bring to fruition this long-overdue National Park."

Originally published in the Bournemouth Echo