As a county without any nationally protected landscapes such as National Parks, greenbelts or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), we feel this is the right time to develop the case to secure an AONB for Northamptonshire, and to begin to engage with key stakeholders.
Why develop a case?
The approach would clearly support the key thrust of our recently published branch strategy to promote and protect the countryside.
Each of the current 34 AONBs in England promote the countryside by being designated for special attention by reason of their qualities. These include the flora, fauna, historical and cultural associations as well as landscape and scenic views. AONB landscapes range from rugged coastline to water meadows to gentle downland and upland moors.
AONBs protect the countryside through important points set out in law and policy. All relevant authorities must have regard to the purpose of conserving or enhancing the natural beauty of AONBs when coming to any decisions relating to or affecting land within these areas.
In addition, an AONB would help promote the county, both encouraging tourism and attracting quality businesses.
What is the process?
Natural England are the sole organisation that can make an order to designate an AONB, and there must be local authority agreement. Before an area can become an AONB, it must meet the “natural beauty criteria”. This could be a combination of factors such as:
Where do you think?
What areas could potentially be considered as suitable for an AONB application? It would be helpful if you could explain why an area should be selected. Please email email@example.com with your thoughts, and whether you would be able to assist us with the background work required in support of any application.