A new five year plan has been published by the Cotswolds Conservation Board aimed at looking after the landscape of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and supporting the communities that live and work here.
The Cotswolds AONB Management Plan 2013-18, which was produced following extensive consultation, outlines the vision for the Cotswolds over the next 20 years and details the priorities and policies for the Board and its partners, as well as the type of actions that public bodies, landowners, businesses and individuals can take to ensure the special qualities and distinctive character of the AONB are conserved for the future and enjoyed by everyone.
Cotswolds Conservation Board Director Martin Lane said: "The people who live and work in the Cotswolds are justifiably very proud of this special landscape, whilst its many millions of visitors are often people who return year after year.
There are certainly many challenges ahead for all of us but there are also many opportunities. The area is renowned for its landscape, history, and scenic villages but not quite so well recognised for its economic value. A recent study has shown the value of the AONB to the local economy to be estimated at around £337million and highlights the landscape as a major asset to our local communities and businesses. Raising awareness of the economic benefits of the AONB, as well as its many other benefits, such as health and well-being, will be an increasingly important aspect of our work.
This plan sets out our ambitions for how the AONB should be managed, and provides guidance for those making decisions that will affect the AONB in years to come. We are inviting the 15 local authorities in the AONB to officially endorse the plan as a key document to be used in formulating their own local plans and core strategies and determining future planning applications.
I would like to thank all the organisations and individuals who have spent time and energy in contributing towards the development of this plan."
The Cotswolds AONB Management Plan, along with a summary document, is available on the AONB website at: www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk/managementplan
The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape. www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk
The Cotswolds AONB is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board - an independent organisation established in 2004 which has 37 members - 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by the Secretary of State.
The Cotswolds is the second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), along with National Parks, are considered to be the most special landscapes in the country and belong to an international family of protected areas. There are 38 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland. For further details, visit: www.landscapesforlife.org.uk. For details of the 15 National Parks in England and Wales visit: www.nationalparks.gov.uk
Source: Cotswolds Conservation Board