The National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB) was formed in 1998 as an independent organisation to act on behalf of AONBs in England and Wales.
England, Wales and Northern Ireland has 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, covering 18% of the countryside, over a fifth of the English coast, and including 12,000 miles of footpaths and bridleways.
The NAAONB is a charity with three primary objectives:
1. to promote the conservation and enhancement of natural beauty in and around AONBs and other similarly protected areas;
2. to advance the education, understanding and appreciation of the conservation and enhancement of the countryside; and
3. to promote the efficiency and effectiveness of organisations promoting or representing Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Association is administered by a Management Board and holds an Annual Conference, which provides an opportunity for those working in AONBs to join together and address issues of current concern.
The Association also works through Joint Accords with the Association of National Park Authorities and other major organisations to establish agreements over issues which directly affect the work of AONBs.
Julian Glover Review
In May 2018 the government asked for an independent review into whether the protections for National Parks and AONBs are still fit for purpose.
In particular, what might be done better, what changes will help and whether the definitions and systems in place are still valid.
The final Landscapes Review report has now been published, on 21 September 2019. It was led by Julian Glover and supported by an experienced advisory group: Lord Cameron of Dillington, Jim Dixon, Sarah Mukherjee, Dame Fiona Reynolds and Jake Fiennes. The Lincolnshire Wolds AONB Partnership has been actively involved in the process, with a visit from Sarah earlier in the year and close collaboration with the National Association for AONBs.
We are now all reviewing its findings and awaiting news on how the review will be taken forward. The report recognises that our National Parks and AONBs really are part of England's soul and that we should all care for them as such. Whilst the review recognises all of the hard work achieved since the original legislation in 1949, it highlights that much more needs to be done to help address the current pace of change. The recommendations make the case for radical and substantial reform. For the current family of 34 AONBs in England, this includes a proposed change in name to National Landscapes together with a suggested strengthening with increased funding, governance reform, new shared purposes with National Parks and a greater voice on development. The Lincolnshire Wolds AONB Partnership (Joint Advisory Committee) will be assessing the implications of the review over the coming days.
The final Landscapes Review report was published on 21 September 2019
Defra has launched the Government response to the Landscapes Review and this is accompanied by a public consultation that will run for 12 weeks until Saturday 9th April. The Landscapes Review’s final report was published on 21 September 2019 after the Government asked for an independent review into whether the protections for National Parks and AONBs are still fit for purpose. In particular, it considered what might be done better, what changes will help and whether the definitions and systems in place are still valid? The initial review was led by Julian Glover and supported by an experienced advisory group comprising Lord Cameron of Dillington, Jim Dixon, Sarah Mukherjee, Dame Fiona Reynolds and Jake Fiennes.
The Lincolnshire Wolds AONB Partnership (the Lincolnshire Wolds Joint Advisory Committee) is currently considering its formal response to the consultation and welcomes the views of all who live, work and visit the Wolds. The proposed changes tackle a number of important issues highlighted within the initial Landscapes Review, but Defra has recognised the need for further clarity in some areas and more detailed development of ideas through a consultative approach which is to be welcomed. There is a focus around the challenges of strengthening purposes through legal changes, increasing resources (especially to AONBs) to help drive the nature and access/inclusiveness for all agendas, and enhancing local and national networks to help secure transformational and positive change for all our nationally important landscapes. We will engage closely with other national landscapes in ongoing discussions over the coming weeks, especially through the National Association for AONBs network.