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Frequently asked questions

What is an AONB?

An AONB is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

 

What is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty?

An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is exactly what it says it is: an outstanding landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so precious that it is safeguarded in the national interest.

 

How is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) protected?

An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is designated and thus protected under the 1949 National Parks and Access to Countryside Act. Its protection is further enhanced by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, 2000 (CRoW2000).

 

What is the 1949 National Parks and Access to Countryside Act?

This is an Act of Parliament passed in 1949 to conserve and enhance the most sensitive areas of the UK. It was passed as a result of the findings of two reports – The Hobhouse Report and The John Dower Report – that were commissioned to respond to the wish of the public to have access to land for recreation purposes. See The AONB Story for more detail.

 

How do I get an area of land, I care about, designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty?

Natural England (NE), Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) are responsible for formally designating AONBs and advising on policies for their protection. NE, NRW and NIEA act as national “watchdogs” over AONBs, to ensure that they are successfully conserved and enhanced.

For information about AONB designation process in England please contact [email protected]

For more information about AONB designation process in Wales please contact [email protected]

For more information about AONB designation process in Northern Ireland please contact [email protected]

 

I am concerned about inappropriate development in an AONB. What can I do?

You should contact the AONB Office to express your concerns – full details of all AONB Officer can be found by selecting the AONB you are concerned about on the right hand side of this page. If the AONB Office is unable to help you, they will be able to direct you to an appropriate officer in your Local Authority.

 

I’d like to go walking/cycling/riding in an AONB. How can I find our more information?

By clicking on Visit AONBs you will be able to get all the information you require about the AONB you wish to visit.

 

When I visit the countryside I like to stay in locally owned establishments and eat locally produced food. How can I find out more about this sort of thing in an AONB?

By clicking on Visit AONBs you will be able to get all the information you require about the AONB you wish to visit.