The AONB Unit
The AONB Unit is employed by Kent County Council and works on behalf of the Kent Downs AONB Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) to carry out the preparation and review of the Management Plan, to advocate its policies and work in partnership to deliver a range of actions described in the Action Plan. There are now 5.5 core staff’ and 6 project staff co-ordinating a number of AONB initiatives. The Unit is a strategic body that works with partners to achieve the conservation and enhancement of the AONB. It undertakes a number of core functions and is also a source of expertise. An annual work programme is developed by the Kent Downs AONB Director and agreed by the JAC and Executive Group. Kent County Council act as the employing authority and a supplier of line management and technical services (finance, IT, personnel) to the Unit.
Much that has been achieved since the publication of the first Kent Downs Management Plan has been through the many delivery partners who work on the ground in the AONB. The vital role of the Countryside Partnerships, the Country Parks teams and Public Rights of Way Officers, the charitable sector of wildlife groups, the Kent Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust, the National Trust, Plantlife and Butterfly Conservation and, of course, the many private farmers and land owners carrying out positive action. All work hard to secure both their individual aims but in support of the aims and policies of this Management Plan. Without the consistent support and energy of these groups, and the strategic support given to them by host authorities and funding partners, then much significant achievement of the first plan would simply not have happened.