Bim Afolami, the MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, has asked Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to support his proposal to extend the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). 

Mr Afolami wants the AONB to be extended across areas of North Herts including Hitchin, Ickleford, Kimpton and St Ippolyts. 

Wednesday, October 26, was Mr Sunak’s first Prime Minister’s Questions since taking over the premiership from Liz Truss.

Mr Afolami said: “This autumn, I am launching my campaign to extend the Chilterns area of outstanding natural beauty across thousands of acres of scenic beauty, chalk streams and valuable habitats that happen to surround the wonderful town of Hitchin in my constituency. 

“Will the Prime Minister join me in celebrating areas protected by AONB status and support my campaign to potentially extend them in rural Hertfordshire?” 

Mr Sunak thanked Mr Afolami for his question, and said: “I know this is a matter of great importance to him and his constituents. He is right to highlight the benefit that natural parks and AONBs can bring to our lives and wellbeing. 

“I understand that Natural England is considering an extension of the Chilterns area of outstanding natural beauty, and I know my honourable friend will be vigorously taking up his campaign with it.” 

According to a statement on Mr Afolami’s website, “inclusion within the Chilterns AONB would recognise this area as one of England’s key natural landscapes. 

“These heartlands of Hertfordshire deserve to be preserved for future generations. Land within an AONB … is protected from inappropriate development. 

“This status would also help our local economy. Being in an AONB would create new benefits for our local farmers, landowners, and communities, and boost local businesses.” 

You can sign Mr Afolami’s petition on his website