Currently, the Tamar Valley AONB team has a Planning Advice Officer who work with us one day a week.

Please email for any planning enquiries.

Planning in the Tamar Valley AONB

The rich heritage and scenic qualities of the Tamar Valley draw people to live here. Therein lies a need for achieving a balance between sustaining the landscape character and a vibrant living countryside. Due to the challenges expected with increased population growth, along with the consequences of a changing climate, wise choices and informed decisions about future development must be made in order to sustain the integrity of this unique area for the benefit of future changes.

The Tamar Valley AONB is a non-statutory consultee and we regularly respond to consultations on a variety of planning applications within both Devon and Cornwall.

The revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the government’s planning policies for England and how these are to be applied. The revised NPPF through paragraph 172 reaffirms that “Great weight should be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty” in AONBs and that designation has “the highest status of protection in relation to these issues”.

This is not to say that development cannot take place within the AONB.

The Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) notes that “All development in National Parks, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Beauty will need to be located and designed in a way that reflects their status as landscapes of the highest quality.” (Paragraph: 041 Reference ID: 8-041-20190721)

A Green Future – the government’s 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment also states that “while development is not prohibited in National Parks or AONBs, major development should take place in exceptional circumstances”.

The NPPF confirms that “whether a proposal is ‘major development’ is a matter for the decision maker, taking into account its nature, scale and setting, and whether it could have a significant adverse impact on the purposes for which the area has been designated or defined.”(Footnote 55)

Finally it is important to remember that the non-designated landscape that surrounds the AONB can still be vitally important and contribute to the quality and perception of the designated landscape.

The NPPG notes that “Land within the setting of these areas often makes an important contribution to maintaining their natural beauty, and where poorly located or designed development can do significant harm. This is especially the case where long views from or to the designated landscape are identified as important, or where the landscape character of land within and adjoining the designated area is complementary. Development within the settings of these areas will therefore need sensitive handling that takes these potential impacts into account.”(Paragraph: 042 Reference ID: 8-042-20190721)

Further information on planning in the Tamar Valley AONB can be found in our current Management Plan 2019-2024 and the supporting Annex on Planning Guidance.