An update on our management plan

An update on our management plan

Chilterns AONB Management Plan 2019-2024 extended to 2025

As reported back in February, the government has been working on new legislation and procedures governing how protected landscapes, including the Chilterns National Landscape, produce their management plans, as well as defining new environmental targets for those plans to deliver. As a result, we have been encouraged to extend the current management plan for the Chilterns from its normal five-year period by one year – it will now run until March 2025.

Producing a management plan is a statutory requirement for all local authorities (district and county councils) that include a National Landscape, or part of one. In the Chilterns, however, that role is taken on by the Conservation Board, acting on behalf of our nine local authorities, and working in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders.

Recently, the government has enacted new legislation (the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023) which places a new strengthened duty on all public bodies to “seek to further the purpose” of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of National Landscapes. A key part of achieving that purpose will be in how those public bodies help to develop and implement the management plan, making the plan a much more important and influential document for all public bodies working in the Chilterns, and for the private and voluntary sectors, as well as individuals, whose activities are either regulated by or funded through those public bodies.

Get involved: a refreshed management plan for 2025-2030

We are legally required to produce a new or updated management plan to replace the existing one by the end of March 2025. We are now starting work on that, and will begin by engaging key delivery partners during the spring and summer, before holding wider consultations with other stakeholders, residents and businesses later in the year.

Natural England is currently in the middle of a programme looking at identifying additional land to designate as part of the Chilterns National Landscape (or Boundary Review), which will not be completed for at least 18 months. When that work is completed, assuming more land is designated, we will need to engage with new stakeholders in new areas, and undertake a large amount of in-depth research to understand the larger area. But we will need to start work on a management plan for the new area as soon as its extent is reasonably certain, which may be long before the normal five-year plan review is due.

As a result, the Board has taken the decision that this year we will “refresh” the current management plan, rather than undertaking a more detailed review, so that we can keep the resources needed to review the plan to a minimum. Nonetheless, we will need to enhance the plan’s content on key national priorities, including nature recovery, adaptation to climate change, and encouraging diversity in access to the landscape, as well as embedding in the plan the government’s new Targets and Outcomes Framework for protected landscapes.

We’re looking forward to working with partners, stakeholders, resident, business and visitors – old and new – during 2024/25 as we refresh the management plan. Watch this space for further information on how you can get involved.

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Chilterns ANOB
Chilterns ANOB

The Management Plan for the Chilterns National Landscape

The Management Plan sets out the policies and actions to be followed by all stakeholders to conserve and enhance this special place. The current Plan (“the Chilterns AONB Management Plan 2019-24”) has been extended to March 2025 and is currently under review.
Chilterns ANOB

Chilterns AONB Boundary Review

We are are working closely with Natural England to explore the case for and against extending the boundary of the protected area of the Chilterns AONB. Find out about the project, and how this could benefit people and the landscape on our Boundary Review page.