AONBs, National Parks and Heritage Coasts are collectively known as 'protected landscapes'. They are unique national assets and are irreplaceable. They belong to the wider family of protected landscapes throughout Europe - and indeed the world - which are protected not just for the present, but also for future generations.
The close connection between landscape, wildlife habitat and human activity is such that these areas often contain rare and valued wildlife and cultural heritage.
In contrast to National Parks, AONBs are:
- largely managed by local authority advisory committees (National parks have a special authority of their own);
- are gentle rather than dramatic landscapes;
- are mostly located in lowland areas;
- are not bound to offer public recreational opportunities as part of their designation.
Increasingly, protected landscapes are being used as pilot/demonstration areas, promoting sustainable planning and land management policies.