National Trust Report

National planning policy states that AONBs have the highest status of protection in the planning system, but planning policies for AONBs are often not being properly applied and followed.

That is the key finding of an important report just published by the National Trust which reviews how AONBs in England are being dealt with by the planning system, where the failings are, and how things can be done better. The study examined a series of case studies where major developments have been approved in AONBs by planning authorities and the Planning Inspectorate, but against the recommendation of the local AONB offices.


The report recommends that:

  • Government issues a Ministerial Statement clarifying the protection to be given to AONBs;
  • Training is needed to ensure practitioners improve the implementation of AONB law and policy;
  • The “checklist” set out in the report should be used to guide decision makers through the process to ensure that AONB protection is given the “great weight” that the national planning policy demands


AONB response:

Here in South Devon, the AONB office continues to raise concerns about some recent major development applications in open countryside including schemes for housing, solar pv and agricultural buildings. The AONB office will shortly be issuing a draft planning guidance document for public consultation.

A very readable summary of the National Trust report is available at National Trust report


Video of National Trust Presentation

Please click below to  watch a video of the presentation made by Adam Royle at a public meeting, organised by The AONB Partnership on 11th August at the Kingsbridge Community College. This preceded the Planning Guidance workshop.

Adam Royle, AONBs and Development