Future-proofing the Chilterns
The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a protected landscape, of national importance and formally designated for its natural beauty. But its future is not guaranteed.
There are many pressures facing our diverse and wonderful AONB, from climate change to biodiversity loss. Alongside these pressures, opportunities also arise to restore and enhance the landscape, heritage and character of the area.
We must work together to tackle threats and take opportunities to ensure that the Chilterns is a haven for people and wildlife, now and for future generations.
- We work on core issues, opportunities and threats across the AONB, including managing our landscape, influencing planning, preserving history, engaging others, promoting sustainable tourism and business, and combatting climate change.
- We work with those who own land, such as farmers, non-governmental organisations, community environmental groups, utility companies, local authorities and developers, to conserve and promote the special qualities of the Chilterns.
- We run flagship projects to complement the work we do on our core issues like influencing planning and engaging communities. These projects tackle current threats and issues, as well as looking to make changes for the future. Our projects have spanned a wide range of subjects over the years (from iron age hillforts to promoting local businesses), with many successes for nature, heritage and communities. But we don’t just leave it there, we build on these successes to ensure that their legacies carry on.
- The Chilterns AONB Management Plan is a guiding tool for all those who live, work, visit or have an interest in the future of the Chilterns AONB. We review this every five years, and prepare it in collaboration with our stakeholders, it sets out our vision, policies and actions for the management of the AONB (currently between 2019 and 2024). This helps guide us into the future, while allowing us flexibility when new issues or concerns arise over time.
- We work across boundaries and time to ensure the preservation of our landscape when threats come from outside the AONB, such as new infrastructure, or have a long-range forecast, such as climate change. For instance, we are working with the HS2 project to find the best options for the Chilterns.
- We are working with stakeholders on a new a partnership approach between ourselves, Natural England, local authorities, and other public, private and voluntary sector organisations working in the Chilterns. This will make the Management Plan, which such bodies already help to develop and deliver, a more influential tool in coordinating efforts and funding to promote the conservation, enhancement, understanding and enjoyment of the Chilterns landscape.
- We are committed to working with stakeholders to explore future options for the AONB, such as extending our boundary.
Plans and opportunities
We are pleased that part of Natural England’s new Designations Programme will explore an extension to the Chilterns AONB.
The Chilterns AONB Management Plan as a guiding tool for all those who live, work, visit or have an interest in the AONB.
We are aware of a further two sinkholes appearing in farmed fields between Sibley’s Coppice and Frith Hill.
Exciting plans are underway in the Mend the Gap programme area.