News - Current Issues - Events

Renewed Government Commitment to AONBs

Richard Benyon Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries visited the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) on Monday 4th April to make an announcement which confirms government backing for England’s 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Richard Benyon Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries visited the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) on Monday 4th April to make an announcement which confirms government backing for England’s 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Minister made the announcement at Berry Head National Nature Reserve, just outside Brixham, a stunning coastal location and internationally-acclaimed heritage site set within the South Devon AONB.

From April 1st 2011 the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is taking over the direct funding of AONBs through a new tripartite agreement between DEFRA, Natural England and National Association for AONBs. This transfer of sponsorship represents a new era for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, confirming them as valued members of the UK’s protected landscape family.

By the change of sponsorship, Her Majesty’s coalition government is acknowledging that AONBs are strategic national assets and that local AONB partnerships are key players in managing positive landscape change.

Richard Benyon said “We need AONBs to ensure that our most important and treasured landscapes continue to thrive and are enjoyed by future generations. They are crucial to our environmental objectives. To help AONBs deliver those objectives, today marks the transfer of their national sponsorship from Natural England to Defra and a new agreement between Defra, Natural England and the National Association for AONBs (NAAONB). This is a new era for AONBs and a new partnership that can unlock the full potential of our greatest resource – the people that care passionately about these areas”.

Peter Stevens, Chairman of the National Association for AONBs commented “Today marks a step-change for the AONB Family. Working closer to government, supported by local authorities, AONBs have been given a renewed confidence in their partnership approach to delivering on the ground. The new relationship with DEFRA and Natural England will ensure that our AONBs continue to have special relevance to those that live in within them, work within them and visit them”.

About the NAAONB

The NAAONB is an influential, trusted organisation that is seen as the mouthpiece for the AONB Family. It harnesses the collective experience, enthusiasm and goodwill of the family and uses it to further our collective cause – to conserve and enhance the UK’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Further information www.landscapesforlife.org.uk

About the AONB Family

AONBs are designated by government to conserve and enhance the UK’s finest countryside. There are 46 AONBs in the United Kingdom, 33 in England, 5 in Wales, 1 which straddles the border between England and Wales, and 8 in Northern Ireland. AONBs are locally managed, nationally important, and deal with global issues. Further information is obtainable from: www.landscapesforlife.org.uk

Editorial Comment:

This is good news for Cornwall’s AONBs and will serve as a reminder to Cornwall Council that it has a statutory duty to conserve and enhance all AONBs and protect these areas from inappropriate, unnecessary and unwanted development – of all kinds!

Ted Venn


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