03 Aug 2017

New chair for AONB Partnership

The Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership has appointed a new chairman, Jonathan Bacon, to champion the Island’s protected landscape. 

He succeeds Simon Dabell, who has been interim chair for the last nine months.
 
Isle of Wight Council Cabinet member for environment and heritage, Councillor John Hobart, said: “I would like to welcome Jonathan Bacon to this vital chair role, which ensures that the importance of the protected landscape to conservation and wellbeing is fully understood and supported.
 
“The Island’s protected landscape is one of the finest landscapes of the UK and is a major draw to residents and visitors alike and it is extremely important that we sustain and enhance that beauty for future generations to enjoy.”
 
Jonathan was previously leader of the Isle of Wight Council and prior to that, served the Isle of Wight as a parish councillor. Jonathan brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience having worked with the planning department within the local authority as a portfolio holder for planning. He has dealt with many issues concerning conservation and enhancement of the Island’s coastline and the countryside.
 
Jonathan will lead the Isle of Wight AONB Partnership, which oversees the management of the AONB. It is an independent organisation made up of key stakeholders with a direct management role or interest in the AONB.   
 
He said: “I am very pleased to be taking on the role of chair of the AONB steering committee. Covering nearly 50 per cent of the Isle of Wight, the AONB is fundamentally important to both the environment and the economy of the Island. I am hoping that in this role I will be able to raise the profile of the AONB and increase the strength of the designation through the development of a new management plan and finding ways to increase the force of policies to protect the AONB within the local planning system. 
 
“I also hope to be able to guide and support the pursuit of issues, such as dark sky status, which have the potential to greatly enhance the Island and support our tourist economy. I have already set up a meeting with our new MP to discuss ways of working together to best achieve these aims.”
 
Outgoing AONB interim chair, Simon Dabell, said: “Much of the Island’s landscape is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and there are many local organisations who get involved in both protecting and enhancing our wonderful countryside. I am pleased to welcome Jonathan as the new chair of this partnership. His passion for the Island’s coast and countryside, coupled with his aspiration for the AONB to be a great place to live, work and play, should help guide the partnership and steering group as we seek a sustainable future for the designation.”
 
Top ten Isle of Wight AONB facts

 
1.      The Isle of Wight Area AONB was designated in 1963.
 
2.      The Isle of Wight AONB Partnership was formed in April 2002.
 
3.      The Isle of Wight AONB is one of 46 AONBs in Britain.
 
4.      The AONB Partnership is funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
 
5.      The Isle of Wight AONB is an independent organisation with representatives from many local, regional and national organisations and individuals with a direct interest in the landscape.
 
6.      The AONB covers approximately half of the Island (191 square kilometres). 
 
7.      The AONB area is not continuous and is made up of five distinct land parcels across the Island.
 
8.      The AONB Partnership is jointly managed by Natural England and the Isle of Wight Council.
 
9.      In planning terms AONBs are equivalent to National Parks, and must be afforded the same level of consideration and protection.
 
10.   The purpose of the partnership is to ensure a coordinated approach to the conservation and enhancement of the AONB, in light of the AONB Management Plan and its policies
 
For the latest event updates and activities timetable, visit www.wightaonb.org.uk or call (01983) 823855.

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Factfile
  • The Isle of Wight Area Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) was designated in 1963.
  • The AONB covers approximately half of the Island (191 square kilometres).
 
Isle of Wight, UK