Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Management Plan 2011 - 2016
What is an Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty?
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are particularly special landscapes whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so outstanding that it is in the nation’s interest to safeguard them.
The purpose of the AONB designation
The primary purpose of AONB designation is to
conserve and enhance natural beauty. However, in
pursuing this, account should be taken of the needs
of agriculture, forestry, other rural industries and the
economic and social needs of local communities.
Particular regard should be paid to promoting
sustainable forms of development that in themselves
conserve and enhance the environment. The
demand for recreation should be met so far as this
is consistent with the conservation of natural beauty and the needs of agriculture, forestry and other uses.
The national picture
There are currently 47 AONBs in England, Wales and
Northern Ireland which make up around 18% of the
country. Natural England is the organisation currently
responsible for designating AONBs. There are also
9 National Parks and one separate designation –
Norfolk and Suffolk Broads. Scotland has a different system with 2 National Parks and 40 National Scenic Areas (NSAs).
Together, protected landscapes make up 24% of the land area of England.
AONBs were brought into being by the same
legislation as National Parks in 1949 and have
the same status and level of protection.
The Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act 2000 confirmed the significance of AONBs.
Section 85 places a statutory (legal) duty on all relevant authorities to have regard to the purpose of conserving and enhancing natural beauty when discharging any function affecting land within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Section 89 places a statutory duty on Local Planning Authorities to produce a five yearly management plan for any AONB within its administrative area. This is the second such document.
International and regional context
The International Union for Conservation of Nature
(IUCN) designates the UK’s AONBs as Category
V – Protected Landscape/seascape – ‘a protected
area where the interaction of people and nature over
time has produced an area of distinct character with
significant ecological, biological, cultural and scenic
value’. The Cornwall AONB is also recognised by
the EUROPARC Federation.
In the South West, 12 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and parts of 2 others extend to
30% of the region – twice the proportion covered by AONBs in England as a whole. There are two National Parks, Dartmoor and Exmoor, covering some 7% of the region.