29/04/2016 - Permalink

Partners agree to pursue an independent Shropshire Hills AONB structure

Related topics: Community / Leisure, culture and heritage

Following a period of consultation, Shropshire Council and the Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership will be working together to develop a new independent organisation for the Shropshire Hills AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).  In developing new approaches, both organisations will continue to work closely with local stakeholders, Telford & Wrekin Council, Defra, Natural England and the National Association for AONBs.   

Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for rural services and communities, and a Vice Chair of the AONB Partnership, said:

“Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership plays an extremely valuable role in conserving and enhancing Shropshire’s natural beauty, providing enjoyment, and promoting well-being and understanding of our natural heritage.

“We believe an independent structure will give the AONB organisation greater flexibility and security, as well as achieving savings for Shropshire Council. It will also mean we can maintain the important links to both councils.  A transition period of up to two years has been agreed within which Shropshire Council would remain the host authority, but the AONB Partnership hopes to decide which independent governance model to pursue as its preferred option by this summer.” 

James Williamson, AONB Partnership Chairman, said:-

“I am very grateful to the many people who have expressed support for the work of the AONB Partnership and its staff team over recent weeks, which has helped us to secure this agreement. In developing a new independent organisation for the AONB, we will need the support and involvement from local people and organisations more than ever before. This is a very significant stage in the 58-year history of the Shropshire Hills AONB, and one which I am very excited about as I believe it can place our nationally-important AONB landscape on a firmer footing for the future.”