IT'S easy to understand why conservationists are striving to see the Churnet Valley achieve status as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). "Not only does it provide a unique environment for bio-diversity, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations for visitors in the Staffordshire Moorlands," James Abberley told fellow members at a recent full district council meeting. His motion that the Churnet Valley should pursue AONB status gained unanimous support from the chamber. Following the Glover report published in 2019, the Churnet Valley is one of three areas in the country that the Government have stated have made persuasive cases to deserve further consideration to gain support to become an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The progressive development of the Churnet Valley Railway has opened up the Valley to many thousands of visitors every year. The Churnet Valley Conservation Society has now notified the Government that it has the full support of the district authority in its latest attempt to gain AONB status. SMDC leader Sybil Ralphs, who put her name to the Churnet Valley becoming an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 10 years ago, said: "This is a beautiful and unique area and a secret of the Staffordshire Moorlands. This is one way we can protect areas like this".