Management Plan Review 2018

Introduction

Under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000) relevant local authorities in the area have a legal duty to produce / review the Malvern Hills AONB management plan every five years. Once agreed, the plan formulates local authority policy in relation to the management of the area. However, the management plan is much more than just a document for local authorities. It is a plan for the whole of the AONB and it guides and influences the activities of many individuals and organisations in the area. The management plan incorporates the views of a wide range of public, private and voluntary bodies and individuals and is the key document through which intentions for conserving and enhancing the special character of the area are presented and implemented.

The review to date

A list of tasks and a timetable for the review of the management plan can be found here. Key steps taken are as follows:

  1. An online survey was conducted between March and June 2018 to help the AONB Partnership garner peoples thoughts on the AONB, the challenges which it faces and their views on the priorities for action over the next five years. 64 people participated in the survey. A summary of the results can be found here.
  2. Three workshops were held over May and June 2018. The workshops brought those with similar interests and knowledge together to consider elements of the current management plan and the changes necessary to bring it up to date for the period 2019-2024.  One workshop covered the Natural and Cultural Environment, one covered Farming and Forestry and one dealt with Community Life and Enjoying and Understanding. 44 people attended the workshops. Workshop notes can be found here.
  3. Using information gathered during steps 1-2 above a draft AONB management plan for the period 2019-2024 was prepared and subject to formal public consultation for 6 weeks between October and November 2018. Comments made on the consultation draft and the AONB Unit’s responses to those comments can be found here.
  4. The draft AONB management plan (2019-2024) was amended to reflect the comments received during public consultation. This amended version of the plan was endorsed by the AONB Joint Advisory Committee – subject to some minor changes – at its meeting on Friday 7 December 2018. Minutes of that meeting can be found here.
  5. Following the making of minor changes suggested by the Joint Advisory Committee the AONB management plan (2019-2024) was sent to Natural England for formal observations. The Natural England response letter containing these observations can be found here.

Next steps

The review of the AONB management plan is almost complete. The AONB management plan (2019-2024) will shortly be sent to local authorities in the area who are expected to formally approve it. The final plan will then be designed and printed for issue on the 1st April 2019. A copy of the plan will then be sent to the Secretary of State.

Strategic Environmental Assessment

There is a statutory requirement to carry out a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the AONB management plan (2019-2024). This is because the implementation of the management plan may have significant effects on the environment. The SEA encompasses a strategic assessment of options and alternative courses of action in order to avoid or mitigate any adverse effects.

Key SEA steps taken during the review process are as follows:

  1. An SEA Scoping Report was prepared in July 2018 and sent for comments to Natural England, Historic England and the Environment Agency.
  2. Comments received from the statutory agencies were taken into account in the preparation of a draft Environmental Report.
  3. The draft Environmental Report was subject to a period of formal public consultation, alongside the draft AONB management plan (2019-2024) for a 6 week period between October and November 2018. Comments received on the Environmental Report can be found here.
  4. The final Environmental Report is available here.

If you have any comments or queries concerning the review process or are unable to access material please contact Paul Esrich at pesrich@worcestershire.gov.uk