Breakfast in the orchard
River Darent at Shoreham

National Policy Context

National and Local planning policies are very clear that highest priority should be given to the conservation and enhancement of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The status of AONBs has been enhanced through measures introduced in the Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act 2000, which gave greater support to their planning and management.

  • Section 82 – sets out the primary purpose of designations an AONB to conserve and enhance natural beauty
  • Section 84 – states the powers that LAs have to take action to achieve conservation and enhancement
  • “Section 85, Duty of Regard”:  states that in exercising or performing any functions in relation to, or so as to affect, land in and AONB, authorities  “shall have regard” to their purposes. You can access further information in the Natural England Duty_of_Regard_publication.
  • Section 89 - The Act requires a management plan to be produced; the first Kent Downs AONB Management Plan was published in April 2004 and the first revision management plan (2009- 2014) was published in April 2009. This has been formally adopted by all the local authorities of the Kent Downs and is a material consideration in all planning decisions..You can find further information about the Management Plan here.