This document sets out the vision, policies and plans for the future management of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for the next 20 years. It has been prepared by the Surrey Hills Board and adopted by the local authority partners as a duty under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. The Plan informs the policies and programmes of the local authorities and provides guidance to all the organisations and individuals that have a role in protecting and enhancing the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Section 1 describes the AONB designation and the purpose and preparation of the Management Plan. Section 2 describes the special features that are the basis of the Surrey Hills being designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the pressures and threats to the landscape. Section 3 sets out the Vision and the Management Plan Policies. Section 4 sets out how the Plan will be implemented, monitored and reviewed in the period 2004 – 2009. Appendix I highlights the key AONB features and issues for each of the Landscape Character Areas that were identified in the Surrey Hills Landscape Assessment .
The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 legislated for the designation of AONBs and National Parks. They were both considered to be of equal landscape status and had the purpose to conserve and enhance natural beauty although National Parks were also to be areas that afford the opportunity for open air recreation for the wider public enjoyment.
There has been clarification regarding the aims of AONB policy since 1949. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (section 87), states that local authorities and public bodies have a duty of regard to:
(a) The purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the area of outstanding natural beauty, and
(b) the purpose of increasing the understanding and enjoyment by the public of the special qualities of the area of outstanding natural beauty, but if it appears that there is a conflict between those purposes, greater weight should be given to the purpose mentioned in paragraph (a)