High Weald

Everyone living and working in the AONB, or with an influence on it, can make a positive contribution to conserving the High Weald, and using the AONB Management Plan can help.

Guiding positive change

Conserving the AONB does not mean that anything contemporary or new is not welcome but rather that such changes need to be carefully considered so that they do not damage the unique qualities that make this landscape nationally important and worthy of protection for future generations. The Statement of Significance and supporting guidance can help provide an understanding of character, from the form and detail of historic buildings to the pattern and distribution of ancient woodland, that can be used to shape policy or actions so that the natural beauty of the High Weald is protected. 

Assessing impact on the AONB

The impact of any policy, land management activity, project or proposed development on the AONB can be judged using the Management Plan objectives and targets as criteria.

The High Weald AONB Management Plan provides a set of objectives for each component of natural beauty that represent the agreed long term aims for the High Weald. The achievement of these aims will ensure that the purpose of AONB designation is achieved and this outstandingly beautiful landscape is conserved for future generations. Each objective is supported by targets, reviewed every 5 years suggesting actions that will help deliver the objectives.

Any policy or action may be considered harmful to the AONB if it results in the loss of, or material harm to, any of the components of character that combine to form the area's natural beauty and/ or it constrains achievement of AONB Management Plan objectives.

Any policy or action can be considered to be consistent with or beneficial to AONB designation if it does not harm the AONB, and it contributes to the conservation of the components of character and/or assists achieve AONB management plan objectives.

Using the Plan's objectives

To assess the impact of any proposed policy, action or development on the AONB consider each of the AONB Management Plan objectives in turn and record how you think the activity under consideration might affect the achievement of the objective. You might like to address the following issues for each objective:
   • The magnitude and extent of any possible material damage to the feature or impact on views or enjoyment of that feature.
   • The duration of impact and whether it is temporary or permanent.
If the proposed policy, action or development is judged to be harmful it may be that an understanding of AONB character can inform an improved revision.

The siting and design of work whether proposed through planning applications or under permitted development rights will often have a significant impact on the character of the AONB.
Read more  Planning in the High Weald AONB

Land management
The actions of landowners and land managers are crucial to the long term conservation of the AONB. Changes in practice as a result of economic pressures, European and national policy, and the implementation of CAP Reform 2014-2020 may fundamentally affect the AONB landscape.
Read more  Positive management of buildings and land in the AONB. 

Community projects, business initiatives and individual actions
There are many opportunities for communities, businesses and individuals to help conserve the AONB. A range of grants and incentives may be available to support initiatives which benefit the AONB and some, such as the AONB Community Landscape Fund, may require applicants to demonstrate how projects contribute to AONB objectives. 

The actions of public bodies
All public bodies have a duty under Section 85 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to consider conservation of the AONB in their everyday decisions. Defra guidance explains the requirements of this duty and provides a full list of public bodies. Public bodies can comply with the duty by using the AONB Management Plan to inform their actions. The High Weald partnership monitors compliance with the duty. 

We are interested in hearing about how you use the AONB Management Plan. Please contact the AONB Unit.