Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a designated exceptional landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are precious enough to be safeguarded in the national interest. Their sole purpose, according to statute, is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the designated area.

AONB’s are similar to National Parks, and they designated under the same legistlation, but they are generally smaller in area and do not have a second purpose of promoting opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities. For more information on Wales’ National Parks see:

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 introduced new roles and responsibilities as regards AONB’s, these included:

  • A responsibility on relevant Local Authorities to prepare and publish a management plan for the designated area.
  • A responsibility on relevant authorities to “have regard” to the purpose of AONBs in carrying out their duties or functions.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW)

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has overall responsibility for AONBs in the national context in Wales but they are managed by Local Authorities with the support of Joint Advisory Committees (JAC), local communities and partnerships. For more information on NRW please see:

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