The AONB family

Landscapes for Life

The 46 AONBs in the UK are linked by a National Association. Our nearest neighbour AONBs are Cannock Chase, the Malvern Hills, Wye Valley, Cotswolds and Clwydian Range and Dee Valley. AONBs make up 15% of the land area of England and Wales, and along with National Parks they represent our finest landscapes.

AONBs are recognised by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as Category V protected areas, which are settled areas in which cultural influences are important alongside natural ones. The approach to their management has a strong ethos of working with local people, valuing their contribution and involving people through events and community projects, and representation in decisions. The effective combination of indigenous knowledge and skills with professional, technical knowledge is a powerful one. Protected landscapes are also well placed to deliver a sustainable development approach, in which alongside the environment, attention is given to the economic activities which sustain the landscape and to maintaining vibrant communities.

AONBs receive central government funding from Defra in recognition of their national importance.  The National Association provides networking, training and exchange of good practice as well lobbying at a national level of behalf of AONBs.

The AONB Family have agreed a set of four headline objectives:

  1. Conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the UK’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, ensuring they can meet the challenges of the future.
  2. Support the economic and social wellbeing of local communities in ways which contribute to the conservation and enhancement of natural beauty.
  3. Promote public understanding and enjoyment of the nature and culture of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and encourage people to take action for their conservation.
  4. Value, sustain, and promote the benefits that the UK’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty provide for society, including clean air and water, food, carbon storage and other services vital to the nation’s health and wellbeing.

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