The following Environment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs) are areas of countryside in England and Wales outside national parks which are designated in recognition of their significant landscape value. The primary purpose of AONB designation is 'to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the landscape'.
Two secondary aims complement this purpose:
to meet the need for quiet enjoyment of the countryside
to have regard for the interests of those who live and work there
Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and local planning authorities (LPAs) all play a role in designating and enforcing AONBs.
Under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRWA 2000), Natural England has the power to:
designate AONBs in England that are outside national parks and that are considered to have such natural beauty, it is desirable they are conserved and enhanced
issue a variation order to change an existing AONB boundary
It also holds a duty to:
give advice on developments taking place in an AONB
take into account the conservation and enhancement of AONBs in its work
In addition to the statutory duties and powers, Natural England carries out further work to support AONBs. This includes:
working with the National Association for AONB to achieve shared outcomes
carrying out research
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