Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Renamed National Landscapes

28 November 2023

New name and brand underpin ambitious targets for nature…

On Wednesday 22 November 2023, all designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in England and Wales became National Landscapes. Whilst still AONBs in designation under the 1949 Act, the new name reflects their national importance: the vital contribution they make to protect the nation from the threats of climate change, nature depletion and the wellbeing crisis, whilst also creating greater understanding and awareness for the work that they do.  

This is a significant milestone for the UK and the next step in fully realising the National Landscapes’ vision to be the leading exemplars of how thriving, diverse communities can work with and for nature in the UK: restoring ecosystems, providing food, storing carbon to mitigate the effects of climate change, safeguarding against drought and flooding, whilst also nurturing people’s health and wellbeing.  

National Landscapes teams have been at the forefront of delivering natural solutions to the main challenges facing the nation for many years. The new brand underscores their commitment to redoubling their efforts and engaging with a wider audience. In 2019, teams set themselves the most ambitious targets for nature and climate in the sector and continue to work to meet them. 

Cllr Richard Avison, Chair of Lincolnshire Wolds AONB Joint Advisory Committee says: 

“We are currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with 50 public events taking place across the Wolds. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all staff and volunteers for their hard work in making the programme of events such an enjoyable experience for all visitors.  

We are proud of our heritage and feel it is appropriate to keep a recognition of the AONB during our celebrations. We aim to incorporate the new name/logo alongside our existing logo and will update branding as appropriate during this time of transition. We recognise the National Landscapes partnership and the Lincolnshire Wolds Joint Advisory Committee look forward to continued support of landowners, farmers and partner organisations.” 

Key Points:-

  • The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 is the Act of the Parliament that provided the framework for the creation of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in England and Wales, and also addressed public rights of way and access to open land. In the immediate wake of the second world war, the nation had the forethought to designate Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty as sisters to the NHS – one to look after the nation’s health, the other its nature and wellbeing. 
  • An AONB is an area of countryside in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland, that has been designated for conservation due to its significant landscape value. Areas are designated in recognition of their national importance by the relevant public body: Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency respectively.
  • AONB/National Landscapes offer a uniquely integrated perspective in decisions about land use: convening conversations, bringing people together, and enabling a sustainable balance of priorities for nature, climate, people and place.  
  • The work of small, expert AONB/National Landscapes teams is guided by the democratically derived Management Plan, developed through consultation with partners and members of the public through an open process every five years. The Management Plan covers the entirety of the landscape, considering how to protect and regenerate its special features: geology, species, heritage, industry, culture; balancing the needs of the local community to keep pace with the latest infrastructure, through a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities of these distinct and special places.