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Areas Of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Volume 87: debated on Tuesday 26 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Wales what are the criteria for establishing an area of outstanding natural beauty; what restrictions are imposed on development and caravan sites in such areas; what resources are available for their enforcement; and whether he plans to make any changes in the current criteria.

Section 87 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 provides that the Countryside Commission may, by order subject to confirmation by the Secretary of State, designate as areas of outstanding natural beauty such areas as appear to the commission to be of such outstanding natural beauty that it is desirable that the provisions of an Act should apply to them. AONB designation does not of itself impose restrictions on development, but in determining planning applications the local planning authority would need to have regard to the provisions of structure and local plans and any other material considerations including AONB designation. Structure plans which include AONBs normally contain restrictive land use policies to protect such areas. In addition, the Town and Country Planning (National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Conservation Areas etc.) Special Development Order 1985 imposes restrictions in areas of outstanding natural beauty on certain permitted development rights. The resources devoted to planning control and enforcement are a matter for individual planning authorities. I have no plans to change current criteria.