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Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are designated to ensure that the landscape and its habitats and built environment are conserved and enhanced for future generations to enjoy.

Much of the Area is in private ownership and these landowners alongside the local authority, other statutory bodies, voluntary organisations and local people all have a role in conserving and enhancing the area.

The AONB Partnership’s role is to ensure that the area is conserved and enhanced and we do this by producing the Management Plan for the Area on behalf of Northumberland County Council. We implement the plan through advocacy and delivering projects that actively conserve and enhance the area.

Our advocacy role includes:

• Providing advice on new development in the AONB to developers and the local authority
• Providing advice to other statutory agencies on their plans and activities
• Providing advice to the local highways authority on their management of the rural road network
• Providing advice to farmers, landowners and their agents
• Providing advice on the sustainable management of tourism

Management Plan

In a landscape as important as the Northumberland Coast it is important to plan for the future. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000) requires a management plan to be prepared for each AONB. The Northumberland Coast AONB management plan sets in place clear aims, policies and actions for the conservation management and enhancement of the AONB for a five year period and sets a longer term vision.

AONB Management Plan

Planning and Development

Though much of the activity of the AONB Partnership is aimed at stimulating positive management of the landscape, it is through the land-use planning system that the designation carries regulatory weight.

• How does the designation affect planning and development?
• Buildings Design Guide
• Landscape Capacity and Sensitivity Study
• Preserving dark skies
• Advice on bird and bats

Planning and Development

Agriculture and Forestry

Much of the Area is farmed and the way in which it is farmed is important to the conserving the landscape, wildlife habitats and archaeology. As well as influencing agricultural policy we can provide advice and support to farmers, landowners and their agents.

• Advice and support for farmers
• Hedgerow guidance
• Agri-environment Schemes
• Woodland management and felling licences

Agricuture and Forestry

Rural roads

The rural roads that weave their way through the AONB and through its villages and hamlets form an important element of the landscape. Roads help to shape the character and quality of the local areas they serve. If they are managed in an appropriate way, they can reinforce landscape character.

• Rural Roads Guidance
• Bamburgh Pilot Project
• Sign Clutter Audit
• Advice to communities

Rural Roads


Tourism in the AONB is heavily reliant on the high quality landscape, natural environment and cultural heritage that the designation protects. The Partnership therefore seeks to develop a tourism model that delivers economic growth, providing jobs in the local community whilst protecting the resources on which it depends.

• Tourism strategy and action plan
• Support for tourism businesses
• Advocacy role