Forest of Dean

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					               Andrew Blake
          Wye Valley AONB Officer

          What it means to be an
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
     How do you govern an AONB?

• Joint Advisory Committee (JAC)
     Local people, organisations & agencies
• Technical Officers Working Party (TOWP)
     Key officers & agencies
• AONB Topic Groups
     Specialists and specific interests
• AONB Office & staff unit
                            JAC members
Local Authorities (voting) Forest of Dean District Council (2 councillors)
                            Gloucestershire County Council (2 councillors)
                            Herefordshire Council (4 councillors)
                            Monmouthshire County Council (4 councillors)
Co-opted (voting)           Council for the Gloucestershire Countryside
                            Gwent Committee for the Environment
                            CPRE (Herefordshire branch)
                            Country Land & Business Association
                            National Farmers Union
Co-opted (non-voting)       local Wildlife Trusts, currently represented by
                                       Gwent Wildlife Trust
                            Lower Wye Valley Society,
                            River Wye Preservation Trust,
                            Central Council for Physical Recreation
                                       - Outdoor Pursuits Division
                            local tourism interests, currently represented by
                                       Wye Valley Tourism association.
Officers in attendance
                      Role of the JAC
• Only organisation to consider the 128 sq miles of lower Wye Valley as
  a whole

• Form AONB wide view of issues and relay advice to all relevant
  parties, especially local authorities, regional & national government

• Advise partners on level of resources needed for AONB management

• Advise relevant planning authorities about appropriate strategic
  policies and potentially damaging development proposals

• Ensure AONB purposes recognised

• Approve AONB Unit work programme

• Meet every 4 months, serviced by a Technical Officers’ Group
                Topic Groups
•   Countryside Management Co-ordination Group
•   Historic Environment & Heritage Group
•   Landscape Topic Group
•   Nature Conservation Liaison Group
•   Tourism Liaison Group
•   Woodland Management Group
•   Wye Valley Public Transport Group
            Role of Topic Groups
• To broaden the AONB partnership and involve specialist
  interests and experts on specific topics
• To provide specialist advice and support to the JAC and
  AONB Unit
• To co-ordinate and progress partnership initiatives in the
  AONB, particularly actions identified in the AONB
  Management Plan
• To enhance the value of the area’s unique environment and
  the significance of the AONB designation, within
  respective institutions and with the general public
• (to bang heads together across borders)
                The AONB Unit

•   AONB Officer – Andrew Blake
•   AONB Co-ordination Assistant – Barbara Atkins
•   AONB Community Links Officer – Andrew Nixon
•   AONB Information Officer – Mark Bristow
•   AONB Development Officer – Catherine Fookes (P/t)
•   AONB Planning Advisor – t.b.c (P/t)
•   HLF Project Planning Officer – Sue Middleton
          Role of the AONB Unit
• Develop vision and strategy for AONB management
• Prepare AONB management plan and co-ordinate
  implementation
• Co-ordinate or advise on local authority services in the
  AONB, to go beyond the normal level of service in
  countryside management
• Access resources for project development and providing
  match funding for special projects
• Tap into advice and liaison with AONBs at regional /
  national level
• Develop involvement by the community in management of
  the AONB
• Promote value of the AONB to the public
• Provide planning advice and related activities
                 AONB Funding
• 4 local authorities contribute total of £60,000
• Natural England & Countryside Council for Wales
  contribute 75% grant aid for core activities and up to 50%
  for specific projects.
• In 2005/06 budget for AONB unit was £380,000.
• Funding partners sit on Steering Group

• AONB budget creates leverage with multiplier
  effect
• In 2005/06 AONB initiatives and partnership projects drew
  in a further £870,000,
• Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) alone generated
  £510,000.
       AONB Management Plan
            2004-2009
• Statutory document     • 3 year rolling Action
• Identifies Special       Plan
  Qualities              • Annual Work
• Sets Strategic           Programme
  Objectives and Targets • Review whole plan by
  for 5 years              within 5 years
• Actions Listed
What would an AONB mean for the Cambrian
Mountains?
                      Pros 1
• Recognition of landscape as outstanding with
  national protection
• International recognition as IUCN Category V
  Protected Landscape
• Lobby through National Association of AONBs
• Specific Development Control policies based on
  PPS7
• All public bodies have a duty to have regard for
  AONB purposes (Section 85, CRoW Act 2000)
                     Pros 2
• Robust funding arrangements, eg.
   – Dedicated AONB unit & core budget,
   – Sustainable Development Fund,
   – target for other funds: HLF etc.
• Focused management of the protected landscape
  with statutory AONB Management Plan
• Effective partnership - JAC (or similar) - to
  oversee co-ordinated management and advise
  partners and public bodies
                       Cons 1
• Lack of awareness or enforcement of the AONB
  statutory purposes across departments within local,
  Assembly & national government
• Perception that the AONB unit is an authority with
  powers/jurisdiction over most activities in the area.
• The dependence on annual funding contributions
• Uncertainty of security of long-term support from
  public funds
                   Cons 2


   AONB boundaries can disenfranchise local
 communities
 Public perception that AONB inflates house
 prices
 Perception that planning and development can
 be ‘stopped’ in an AONB
    What would it mean for the local Councils?
• Requirement of AONB Management Plan
• Financial commitment to AONB budgets (£10-20k ?)
• Host authority for the AONB staff & JAC ?

•    Dedicated team for delivering projects, bids etc.
•    Focus for external funding & bids
•    Good leverage for resources (400 – 1,000 % +)
•    Enhanced status locally, regionally & nationally
            To take away!
AONBs = Added Value
        Outstanding landscape
        Networks & partnership working
        Best practice piloting
        shared responsibility


       www.wyevalleyaonb.org.uk

				
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