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Managing for the Future

The Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is one of the finest landscapes in the country.

This is an area with a special character which is designated by law as a protected landscape. It is a place that needs conserving and enhancing, always with the recognition that this has to be done in with the needs of the local community in mind.

We are one of 46 designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and, like them, we focus on our geology, landforms, wildlife, landscape features and the histories of human settlement. We have habitats of international significance and we want to conserve and improve them for generations to come.

In 2000 the Countryside and Rights of Way Act created legislation for the better protection of AONBs and our two main objectives are:

  • To have regard to the purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the AONB
  • To prepare, publish and review a plan which formulates our policy for the management of the area

All AONBs have a five-year statutory management plan which we work to with our partners, under the guidance of our Joint Advisory Committee.

You can read our full management plan here and find out more about how we will look after this special place for years to come.


The five objectives of our management plan are to:

  • Secure the natural and cultural heritage of the Solway Coast AONB, ensuring it can meet the challenges of the future
  • Support the economic and social wellbeing of local communities in ways which contribute to the conservation and enhancement of natural beauty
  • Support public understanding of the special qualities of the AONB and encourage people to take action for their conservation
  • Value, sustain and promote the benefits that the AONB provides for society, including clean air, water, food and carbon storage
  • To meet the recreational needs of local residents and visitors alike – where these are compatible with our AONB status

We provide advice to the local planning authorities  on any planning application which occurs within the boundaries of the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We scrutinise all of them carefully, responding where appropriate, to ensure the special qualities of the AONB and its setting are fully respected.

The Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 2020-25 Management Plan

The Management Plan guides the work of a range of organisations, individuals and communities over the next 5 years. We have consulted widely at all stages of the development process to ensure that all who love and have a stake in this special place have had the opportunity to contribute to the Plan.

The Plan was adopted by all three of the local authorities with responsibility to produce it-  Cumbria County Council, Allerdale Borough Council and Carlisle City Council, and has been approved by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)Printed copies are also available on request.

The priorities and content of the plan has been informed by an extensive consultation process. An initial public consultation set the priorities for the plan, you can read more about this process here.

The draft plan was circulated for statutory consultation and comment to key stakeholder, partners and the public. A summary of this process is available here and you can read the detailed comments made to the consultation and our responses here.

In addition the plan has been subject to a number of statutory assessments. The Habitats Regulation Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment are available here, and the Equalities Impact Assessment here.