New coastal plan launched for Northumberland - here's how to have your say

Residents will soon be able to have their say on a key plan governing the north Northumberland coast over the next five years.

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 10:06 am
Picture by Gavin Duthie

Consultation on the draft management plan for the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which stretches from Berwick to the Coquet Estuary, starts on Monday January 20 and runs for six weeks.

The plan, which is the AONB’s most important document, sets out long-term aims and objectives to ensure that this nationally important landscape is conserved and enhanced for future generations to enjoy as it is today.

This draft plan, covering the period from 2020 to 2024, has been prepared by the AONB Partnership on behalf of Northumberland County Council – with local authorities having a legal responsibility to review statutory management plans each year.

Chairman of the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership, Coun Jeff Watson, said: “In a time of uncertainty with both challenges and opportunities ahead, the plan sets out clear objectives and policies designed to provide a framework for action by the AONB Partnership, the county council, partner organisations, farmers, businesses, community groups and residents over the next five years.

“The AONB is a living working place and local people are at the heart of protecting the coastline and adjacent countryside and safeguarding its future.

“We really hope that local people will engage with this consultation and let us know what they think of the draft plan and we look forward to receiving these comments over the next few weeks.”

The consultation will run from Monday, January 20, until Monday, March 2, at http://www.northumberlandcoastaonb.org/management-plan/

This is the first plan produced since a Government review of the protected areas in England, which resulted in 27 recommendations, was published in September.

At October’s annual forum, AONB officer David Feige, who is also the county council’s ecologist, said: “It really has the potential to profoundly change what we do, how we do it and, most crucially, how much of it we can do.”

Of particular note is the recommendation that the 34 AONBs should get an uplift in funding, from £6.7milllion a year to £13.4million, but it now rests with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to ‘consider the recommendations’.

The section between South Bents, South Shields, and Amble opened in July 2018, while the Amble to Bamburgh proposals are currently being considered by the Secretary of State.

Coun Glen Sanderson, Northumberland County Council’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “This is a fantastic project along a truly spectacular stretch of our beautiful coastline.

“It will be the final link along the county’s coast and involve a number of improvements to the paths along this stretch and it’s important people have the opportunity to submit their views during this consultation.”

All representations and objections must be received by Natural England no later than midnight on Wednesday, March 11. Visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/england-coast-path-from-bamburgh-to-the-scottish-border-including-holy-island-comment-on-proposals