THE public have until July 26 to express their views on the Consultation Draft of the Management Plan for the High Weald, one of England’s finest landscapes and a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The High Weald AONB Management Plan is a locally prepared and agreed statement of public policy for managing the area and has been produced jointly by the area’s 15 local authorities through the High Weald Joint Advisory Committee.
The plan highlights the features which give the area its special character, such as ancient woodland full of archaeological features from the Tudor iron industry, and sets out what is needed to conserve and enhance those features for the next five years.
The High Weald Joint Advisory Committee is urging everyone to comment on the plan’s proposals.
In particular it is keen to find out more about what people value about the AONB, what issues the landscape faces and what people feel needs to be done by local authorities and others to meet the purposes of AONB designation over the next five years.
Councillor Brian Kentfield, chairman of the committee, said: “The area faces many new developments which may have a lasting and significant impact on the landscape’s woodland, farmland and villages and their unique historic features and wildlife habitats.
“We have a duty to ensure that what is needed to conserve this nationally important landscape for future generations to use and enjoy is built into decision-making processes.
“This locally prepared plan provides a means by which all public bodies can judge, and be judged, on their duty to have regard to the purposes of AONB designation.
“However the High Weald landscape is everyone’s responsibility and this plan sets out actions that everyone who lives, works or visits the area can take to ensure that it stays beautiful.”
The Consultation Draft of the High Weald AONB Management Plan 2014-2019 is currently available at http://www.highweald.org/management-plan/consultation-draft-2014-2019-plan.html (where the public can comment online) or at council offices and libraries throughout Kent, East and West Sussex and Surrey or from the AONB Unit - call 01580 879500
or email firstname.lastname@example.org