Local Authorities have the primary responsibility for the conservation and enhancement of AONBs.  The duty under section 89 of the CRoW Act, to produce a plan giving policies for the management of the area, also falls on the Local Authorities for the area covered by the designation.

The day to day management of the AONB is through partnership working and the invaluable help of the Solway Coast Community Volunteer Group.

Management Plan 2015-2020

Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has launched its Management Plan 2015-2020. Every five years, it is necessary to review and re-publish the Statutory Management Plan for the Solway Coast AONB.

The duty to do this is placed jointly on Cumbria County Council, Allerdale Borough Council and Carlisle City Council, but it is discharged on their behalf by the Solway Coast AONB and members of the public across the area and the adjacent regions to review our Partnership. We encouraged organisations to comment on the draft Management Plan and share their views as part of this consultation.

This consultation ran from December 15th 2014 – February 6th 2015

The Solway Coast AONB covers 115 sq km of the Cumbrian landscape and over 5% of the North West regional coastline, it lies within the boundaries of three Local Authorities namely Allerdale Borough Council (88% of area), Cumbria County Council (100% of area) and Carlisle City Council (12% of area).

It is one of 46 AONBs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and is the only AONB that is fully within Cumbria. It occupies 59 km along the Cumbrian coastline between Rockliffe West of Carlisle and Maryport in the South, and was designated in 1964.

The purpose of the study is to "inform the management of the areas and to be available for use by the partners, stakeholders and communities."

The study provided an important opportunity to update and to widen the scope of the existing landscape character assessment.

Dr Brian Irving, Manager of the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has been given an MBE for services to natural heritage and conservation in Cumbria.

On his role he said: ‘The great thing is that you are working towards positive change’. He also commented that the hardest thing was keeping it a secret from friends and family for six weeks!

Brian Irving has overall responsibility for the preparation and implementation of the Solway Coast AONB Management and Action Plans. He leads the AONB Staff Unit and has for many years, worked along with local authorities, other public bodies, local organisations and local communities to secure appropriate and effective management of the AONB and timely project delivery.

Brian Irving was born and bred in North Cumbria, as well as having a vast knowledge of the area, he has many years of experience working in the environment. Brian is totally committed to the area and the job and is certainly well equipped to lead the unit and to ensure the Solway Coast AONB continues to provide a sustainable future for the local community and people visiting the Solway Coast Area.

Brian works under the direction of the Joint Advisory Committee in consultation with the AONB Steering Group and the National association of AONBs (NAAONB)


Rose Wolfe joined the staff of the Solway Coast AONB in 2000 and has worked tirelessly to ensure projects are implemented to the satisfaction of all concerned.

Rose has the responsibility for identifying, developing and managing projects in the AONB, with additional funding, practical advice and effecting delivery. She works with the AONB Manager to produce Management Plans and other documents required by legislation.

She also works alongside the AONB Volunteer Coordiantor, Graeme Proud, helping to fund and maintain the award winning AONB Solway Coast Community Volunteer Group.


Sue McMillan has worked for the Solway Coast AONB since they opened their new offices in the old school masters house in Silloth (adjoining the Discovery Centre).

Sue has a good knowledge and experience of the work involved with particular responsibility for developing and operating the administrative systems for the support of the AONB Unit. She also gives similar support to the AONB Joint Advisory Committee and Steering Group ensuring their effective operations.


Graeme has lead the Solway Coast Community Volunteer Group for the last 16 years with responsibility to managing the landscape, infrastructure and wildlife within the AONB and working with local communities, schools, partner organisations, etc, to promote the understanding and appreciation of this unique area.


Chris Spencer is the Manager for the Heritage Lottery Funded Solway Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme that will improve the natural and built heritage of the area.


 Ruth Carter is the Wetlands Administrator