NEW PLAN FOR COTSWOLDS AONB

A new plan has been published setting out policies and goals for the management of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, (AONB). The AONB covers 790 square miles and is the second largest protected landscape in England, stretching from south Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and parts of west Oxfordshire, down to west Wiltshire and the area surrounding Bath in the south.

The five-year plan has been produced by the organisation that exists to conserve and enhance the AONB, the Cotswolds Conservation Board. The board has two statutory purposes; to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the AONB and to increase public understanding and enjoyment of the area. In fulfilling these roles, the board also seeks to foster the social and economic wellbeing of people living in the Cotswolds.

Designed as a guide for local authorities, statutory agencies and other bodies such as businesses and individuals working within the AONB, the new management plan covers a wide range of issues that affect the Cotswolds such as; development and transport, rural land management, natural resources, biodiversity and the historic environment. There are also three key issues that influence the whole plan; climate change, globalisation on land use and pressures from development, changing lifestyles and transportation.

The Chairman of the Cotswolds Conservation Board, Niel Curwen said:

"The new plan not only sets out our policies, aims and objectives for the next five years but also provides a vision for the future of the AONB over the next 25 years. This is not just a plan prepared by the board for itself. It is a plan for all those who value the area and have an interest in it.

Our successes to date reflect the commitment of many different individuals and organisations. This will also be true of the implementation of the new plan over the next five years. It will only succeed in shaping a positive future for the Cotswolds AONB if people with varied interests work closely together to achieve results."

The plan is available on the AONB website at www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk

Notes to editors:

Click here to go straight to the Cotswolds AONB Management Plan 2008-13

The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is cared for by the

Cotswolds Conservation Board - an independent organisation with 40 members,

17 nominated by local authorities, eight by parish councils and 15 appointed

by Government.

The Government has designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks as our finest countryside and they are recognised as being of

national importance.

With its rolling hills and valleys the Cotswolds is the largest of 40 AONBs

in England and Wales and is protected to ensure that its beauty and special

character are conserved.

Relevant authorities are advised by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) that AONB management plans are a useful mechanism for securing their active involvement in the management of AONBs and demonstrating their compliance with the CROW Act 2000. The act placed new responsibilities on local authorities to ensure further protection for designated landscapes. It also confirmed that AONBs share with National Parks, the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty.

Press contact: Claire Cunningham

Tel: 01451 862003

Cotswolds Conservation Board

Fosse Way, Northleach, Gloucestershire GL54 3JH

Tel: 01451 862000

Website: www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk