Nothing reflects the high quality of Hampshire’s landscape more than the coverage of nationally important protected areas. Hampshire has one National Park and four Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) covering a total area of about 175,000 hectares or about 47% of the County, and is actively engaged in their management. They are:
One of these, East Hampshire AONB, forms part of the designated South Downs National Park.
The AONBs are funded by local authorities and the Countryside Agency and managed through partnerships involving them, other Government agencies, local organisations and the voluntary sector. The primary purpose of AONBs is:
to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of their area.
and the two secondary purposes are:
to meet the need for quiet enjoyment of the countryside
to have regard for the interests of those who live and work there.
It is the duty of the partner local authorities to prepare Management Plans for AONB’s. These were completed in March 2004.
Implementation of the Management Plans is the responsibility of all the partners, who work with the wider communities of the AONBs to undertake projects, research and programmes that deliver AONB objectives.
National Parks are run and managed in a different way from AONB’s. A National Park Board is a local authority in its own right, again formed from local authorities, Government agencies, local organisations and the voluntary sector, but with many more powers than AONB partnerships. The statutory purpose of National Parks also differs slightly:
to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of their areas; and
to promote opportunities for the public understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of their areas.
Further information about National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty can be obtained from Natural England