A LONG-term vision for the Blackdown Hills AONB and a five-year delivery plan detailing objectives and targets for the delivery of the plan have been agreed by EDDC’s Cabinet, meeting last week.

The delivery of the Blackdown Hills AONB Management Plan 2014 - 2019 is subject to availability of funding from six local authorities, Defra and other partners.

The plan complies with the requirements of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and follows guidance from Natural England, Defra and the National Association for AONBs on the scale, nature and content of management plans.

East Devon District Council and other relevant local authorities were required to produce a Management Plan for the Blackdown Hills AONB by April 1 2004 and review it at intervals of not more than five years.

The local authorities covering the Blackdown Hills AONB area authorised the Blackdown Hills AONB Partnership to review the Blackdown Hills AONB Management Plan (2009-14) on their behalf. This work has been co-ordinated by the AONB Manager.

Worked well

Through the review process the original Blackdown Hills AONB Management Plan has largely maintained the structure adopted in previous plans, recognising that these have worked well up to now.

The forces for change, key influences and the priorities for action have been updated in the revised document, taking account of national and local guidelines and recommendations through the National Association for AONBs.

Following approval from each local authority to consult on the draft Management Plan, public consultation was carried out in late 2013 and feedback incorporated into the revised Plan.

The AONB Partnership also carried out a Strategic Environmental Assessment and Sustainability Appraisal on the plan, to ensure policies and actions were unlikely to have a negative effect on the environment or sustainability of the area.

The plan was revised to take into account the results of this assessment and a final adoption draft version forwarded for formal consultation with Natural England.

The Management Plan for the Blackdown Hills provides a management framework for conserving and enhancing this nationally important landscape.

It is now incumbent on all the ‘stakeholders’ within the AONB to continue to support activities that benefit the landscape through the Delivery Plan.

An Annual Review will highlight the work of the AONB Partnership to stakeholders and the communities of the Blackdown Hills and wider East Devon.

The success of the Delivery Plan will depend on the long-term support from Defra, Natural England, the six local authority funding partners, and other partners.