In 2000, the Government passed the Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act which refers specifically to the management of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, of which the Cotswolds is the largest.

As a result of the CROW Act, it was proposed that independent Boards - representing the full cross section of interests in large AONBs - be created.

A conservation board is a statutory body, established by Order of the Secretary of State with the approval of both Houses of Parliament. The statutory role of a conservation board gives it a status which brings opportunities for more streamlined and effective management of the AONB and which makes it easier to attract funds and support.

The status of a board means it can make its own decisions, within carefully prescribed limits.

The Cotswolds AONB used to be cared for by the AONB Partnership. This has now been replaced by the Cotswolds Conservation Board.

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