The legal framework for AONBs in England and Wales is provided by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CRoW) 2000 which reaffirms the primary purpose of AONBs: to conserve and enhance natural beauty, and sets out responsibilities for their management and for the production of AONB Management Plans.
Section 82 reaffirms the primary purpose of AONBs: to conserve and enhance natural beauty.
Section 84 confirms the powers of local authorities to take appropriate action to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of AONBs.
Section 85 places a duty on all public bodies and statutory undertakers to ‘have regard’ to the ‘purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the area of outstanding natural beauty.’
Section 86 establishes a process for creating AONB conservation boards.
Section 89 creates a statutory responsibility for local authorities and conservation boards to prepare and publish; and review on a five yearly basis AONB management plans.
Section 92 clarifies that conservation of natural beauty includes conservation of flora, fauna and geological and physiographical features.