Photo by Clare Buckerfield

Landscape Planning

The European Landscape Convention

The United Kingdom Government ratified the European Landscape Convention in 2000, an international agreement that promotes the role of landscape and its vital contribution to our cultural, environmental, social and economic well-being.

The Convention provides a common resource for anyone with an interest in landscape including the general public, local authorities and other interested parties such as AONBs. In line with its purpose to safeguard landscape, the Convention reinforces the approach to forward local landscape planning and management including landscape and seascape character assessment.

The Planning System

The Planning System can have significant impacts upon the natural beauty of the AONB. When making decisions affecting the area, The Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000 places a statutory duty on local authorities to have regard for the primary purpose of the AONB to “conserve and enhance natural beauty.”

The National Planning Policy Framework gives great weight to conserving landscape and scenic beauty in AONBs, however, it also promotes a presumption in favour of sustainable development. The emphasis on growth means that the pressure for development is set to increase and presents a significant challenge for the protection and management of the AONB.

The AONB Management Plan is a material consideration in the planning process and provides a framework to help guide local authorities in fulfilling their statutory duty, informing the development of local planning policy and influencing development control decisions.

Planning Protocol

Planning decisions within the AONB are made by the local planning authorities, not by the AONB Partnership. However authorities may seek advice from the AONB team under the Planning Protocol. For advice on planning issues within the AONB, you can contact your local planning department on the numbers below or visit the Dorset council’s website at www.dorsetforyou.com.

Dorset County Council.........................01305 221000
West Dorset District.............................01305 251010
North Dorset District............................01258 454111
Purbeck District....................................01929 556561
Weymouth and Portland Borough......01305 838000
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