Gallery: From seascapes to saltmarsh, from culture to car parking - framework for the future of an outstanding natural asset is all-encompassing

Saint Andrews church, Covehithe

Saint Andrews church, Covehithe

A little delayed, but worth the wait, a new management plan for the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has been officially launched, as John Grant reports.

Outstanding Natural Beauty’s Manager Simon Amstutz, right, holds their new management plan with spea

Outstanding Natural Beauty’s Manager Simon Amstutz, right, holds their new management plan with speakers key speakers Elspeth Gibson, Julian Roughton, David Wood and Alex Paul at the Thorpeness Hotel and Gold Club on Friday, 21 February.

A total of 56 objectives and 155 actions are set out in the new Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB management plan and while they vary in scale and level of ambition, all fit neatly under the umbrella of the buzzwords – “conserve” and “enhance” – that underpin the document.

On the theme of coast and estuaries, the plan foresees actions such as the development of a seascape character assessment to “support marine development decision-making” and the encouragement and delivery of projects to restore inter-tidal habitat, particularly saltmarsh. It aims to encourage co-operative approaches to managing commercial, recreational and environmental interests on estuaries and it aims to increase understanding in relation to recreation and disturbance in sensitive coastal and estuarine areas.

On land use and wildlife, wide-ranging aims and objectives include delivery of low-voltage undergrounding schemes and increasing awareness of the range and importance of the AONB’s cultural and natural heritage. It seeks to “avoid, mitigate and offset” impacts from major infrastructure developments in or adjacent to the AONB and it seeks conservation management that helps wildlife adapt to climate change, enabling greater dispersal across the landscape.

The plan has an objective to ensure that farming in the AONB is “profitable but sustainable and appropriate to location” and it seeks to increase the area of land within the AONB that is in agri-environment schemes.

It seeks to develop annual campaigns to promote sustainable tourism and increase marketing for tourism outside the peak months.

It aims to manage recreation and access to avoid conflicts with conservation objectives and support communities in the management of “visitor-hotspot” car parking.

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The AONB administers funds that offer grant aid to many local projects and the plan aims to continue supporting them. It aims to “promote carbon reduction in local communities” and offer increased opportunities for young people to become involved with the AONB.