Policy: To conserve and enhance the natural beauty and special landscapes of the AONB
Since the late 1990s much work has been undertaken to characterise the landscapes of the AONB through character areas and character types, to inform work to conserve and enhance these special landscapes. These assessments are designed to provide an objective assessment of landscape quality, providing an insight into how landscapes are changing and what ‘forces for change’ might be influencing that landscape change.
North Devon AONB has 7 Landscape Character Areas and 14 Landscape Character Types. Central to the work of the AONB is to ensure that these objective assessments are used appropriately and in particular for planning and development policies and decisions.
The area of the AONB is a rural, farmed landscape interspersed with small settlements and coastal towns. Key influences on the landscape are the changing nature of crops, driven in part by climate change but also changes in food production technology. Changes to land management grants can have a profound effect on the landscape; the increasing use of renewable energy and, in particular, wind turbines, often in remote locations, can have an impact on the landscape for many miles around. The challenge of delivering even modest housing allocations is accentuated in small discrete towns and villages within and in the setting of the AONB. There is also a need to protect the skyline of the AONB from inappropriate development.