At its last meeting the AONB JAC approved the recommendation to accept the contents of the report (Agenda Item 1) and approve the following changes to the AONB Partnership:
- Statutory functions relating to the Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act will remain the responsibility of the Local Authority.
(Section 85: relevant authorities to have due regard to the conservation and enhancement of natural beauty in AONBs in performance of the authorities’ functions).
(Sections 89 and 90 statutory obligation for relevant local authorities to prepare AONB management plans and once adopted review them at intervals of not more than five years).
- The AONB Staff Unit will be dissolved and delivery of some objectives of the AONB Management Plan will be primarily focussed through a 3rd party organisation funded from the savings from the staff unit and delivery funds.
- The Council will retain ‘Host Authority’ status (recipient of the DEFRA grant) and will set up a Grant-in-Aid Agreement to transfer the majority of DEFRA funding to a third party organisation.
- The AONB Partnership structure will retain the AONB Executive Group to act as a lead in identifying and developing approaches to managing the AONB environment.
- The AONB Partnership will formalise an AONB Advisory Group to provide advice and support required to the AONB Executive, for example on projects for delivery and when reviewing the AONB Management Plan.
- Conversion of the AONB JAC into a Community Forum, which will meet twice a year. This will allow the community to have more input into AONB management.
The intended outcome is:
- To streamline AONB Partnership functions to ensure it is an effective organisation moving forward.
- To ensure that focus of the AONB Partnership is on the delivery of AONB Management Plan Objectives. For example, delivering of initiatives around Promoting, Understanding and Enjoying the AONB Landscape through development of new interpretation material, ensuring footpath maintenance and access is improved for visitors and residents, installation of appropriate footpath signage, improved environmental educational activities for children and young people and developing green-waste composting.
The AONB Executive Group would like to thank all those who supported and made contributions to the JAC and hopes that those individuals, groups and organisations will continue to help shape and guide the AONB Partnership through the new structure