The purpose of AONB designation
The purpose of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) designation is set out in the Countryside Agency’s 1991 Policy Statement on AONBs:
The primary purpose of the designation is to conserve and enhance natural beauty.
In pursuing the primary purpose of the designation, account should be taken of the needs of agriculture, forestry and other rural industries and of the economic and social needs of local communities. Particular regard should be paid to promoting sustainable forms of social and economic development that in themselves conserve and enhance the environment.
Recreation is not an objective of the designation, but the demand for recreation should be met insofar as this is consistent with the conservation of natural beauty and the needs of agriculture, forestry and other uses.