Download our ‘Planning Information Fact sheet’ here

There are three Local Planning Authorities who are responsible for planning applications within the AONB boundary; Cornwall Council, West Devon Borough Council and South Hams District Council. It is these organisations that create the planning policies that apply to the AONB, and also determine planning permissions within the AONB. If you have any concerns or questions regarding planning policy or a planning application, you should contact your Local Planning Authority for advice and guidance: Cornwall Council, West Devon Borough Council and South Hams District Council.

On 6 March 2014 the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) launched it’s planning practice guidance web-based resource. This guidance is now available entirely online via the following link This guidance is intended to provide important information for any user of the planning system. The online guidance enables you to link easily between the National Planning Policy Framework and relevant planning practice guidance, as well as between different categories of guidance.

Information on the status of designated landscapes such as the AONB and the planning considerations and policies that apply to them can be found under the National Planning Policy Framework, section 11 “Conserving and enhancing the natural environment” and the Planning Practice Guidance section entitled “Natural Environment”.

Aerial view of a settlement in the Tamar Valley AONBFrequently Asked Questions

Please note that we do not have the capacity to offer a pre-application service at this time.

What is the role of the Tamar Valley AONB Partnership in respect of planning matters?

Whilst the Tamar Valley AONB Partnership is a non-statutory consultee with regard to planning policies and decisions, it does influence the planning process in the following ways:

• Assistance in preparing Local Development Frameworks with Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) including district wide strategy and planning policy development.

• Provide specialist advice to LPAs on individual planning applications that are classified as major developments, or as having a significant effect on the natural beauty of the AONB.

• The AONB Partnership also supports the preparation of Parish Plans which can contribute to the conservation and enhancement of the AONB.

How does the AONB designation affect planning?

The primary purpose of AONB designation is to ‘conserve and enhance’ the natural beauty of the landscape. The Government has confirmed that AONBs are equivalent in planning status to National Parks, in terms of their landscape quality and scenic beauty.

Since the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 LPAs have a legal duty to have regard to the conservation and enhancement of the AONB in carrying out planning and other functions. This includes any applications assessed at a county or national level, including infrastructure and utilities.

In addition, the contents of the statutory AONB Management Plan, though it is not a part of the formal planning system, may also be a factor affecting planning decisions and as a driver for policy change.

An online version of the Management Plan can be found on our website.

Is the AONB designation likely to affect my proposed development?

Not necessarily. The AONB is a protected landscape, and as such your proposal will need to adhere to local planning policy and not detract from the natural beauty of the AONB. To find out more about policies and guidance relevant to your proposal and the likelihood of it being approved contact the relevant local planning authority.

To find out if you are within the AONB, see the map on our website. The AONB boundary can be viewed at a larger scale on the government’s MAGIC website.

For more information on domestic development please see the guidance on the planning portal website and specifically the interactive house. When reviewing the information please pay special regard to the restrictions for “designated land”.

The AONB may be a consideration in larger development proposals outside the AONB boundary, if the proposals might have a significant impact on the AONB.

I’m upset about a planning application in the AONB. What should I do?

Your first point of contact should be the relevant LPA. You may be able to see details and plans for the application on their website or otherwise at their offices. You will also be able to find out what other comments have been made about the application.

Why does the AONB Partnership not object to more planning applications?

The Tamar Valley AONB works alongside LPAs to ensure that our primary aim of ‘protecting and enhancing the natural environment’ is represented in planning policy. Planning Officers give regard to the ‘protected landscape’ status of the AONB when considering applications that could have an impact on the AONB.

The Tamar Valley AONB is a progressive organisation that has a duty to secure a sustainable future for the Valley, and as such the AONB Partnership may support certain large-scale developments which it feels contribute to a living and working, sustainable landscape.

How can individuals get involved in shaping the planning system?

Your LPA has a duty to consult the public when creating planning strategy and policy. Your LPA will be able to advise you when the next phase of consultations or policy review is expected to happen, and how you can get involved.

Where can I get a detailed map of the AONB boundary?

You can view a detailed map on the website run by Natural England on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Navigate to the interactive map and select ‘Rural Designations – Statutory’ and then find an area by searching for a postcode or village, for example. The display changes to 1:25000 and 1:10000 Ordnance Survey mapping by zooming in so an area can be seen in detail. Other statutory datasets can be turned off by clicking on ‘List of Layers’ and un-ticking the boxes of the relevant sets. We are able to provide a paper copy of the boundary if you come to the Tamar Valley Centre, but regret that the file is too large to e-mail and MAGIC should be the first port of call for statutory boundaries.

Useful Links

Planning Aid – This service is offered by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and offers free, impartial planning advice to individuals and communities.

Neighbourhood Planning – Some valuable information on the process of neighbourhood planning, sources of help and funding can be found on the My Community Rights website.

National Planning Policy, Circulars and Guidance – Information on the latest national planning consultations, guidance, circulars and legislation produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government can be found on the GOV.UK website

Heritage – Information on historic sites and buildings can be found on the Heritage Gateway website or by contacting the Local Planning Authority.