1.2.1 The Plan for this nationally designated protected landscape is overarching of local authority administrative boundaries and the plethora of other plans and strategies. It identifies what is necessary to conserve and enhance this special landscape.
1.2.2 Whilst set in the context of national and local policy, plans and strategies, the AONB Management Plan seeks to influence these as they evolve and are implemented to ensure that they include policies to conserve and enhance the AONB and support the aims of the Management Plan.
1.2.3 The Plan also has an important role in securing commitment from public bodies, including action to comply with the Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act Section 85 Duty of Regard.
1.2.4 The CRoW Act 2000 requires relevant local authorities to produce and adopt a plan which ‘formulates policy for the management of the area and for carrying out their functions in relation to it.’
1.2.5 The AONB Partnership, the advisory body for the Mendip Hills AONB produces the Management Plan, on behalf of its local authority partners; Somerset County Council, Bath and North East Somerset Council, North Somerset Council, Mendip District Council and Sedgemoor District Council.
1.2.6 The AONB Partnership through engagement with other stakeholders seeks to deliver this Plan through a coordinated annual Delivery Plan of actions, assisted and managed by the AONB Unit.
1.2.7 The Plan sets out what the special qualities of the Mendip Hills AONB are in the Statement of Significance. It has considered current issues and future trends to devise objectives to address these in order to retain and enhance the special qualities in order to achieve the Vision for the Mendip Hills AONB.
1.2.8 The Plans focus is with the designated area but what happens in the countryside adjacent to the boundary or within view of the AONB is also of significance.
1.2.9 This review of the 2009-2014 Management Plan is being undertaken in accordance with the Guidance on the review of AONB Management Plans, Countryside Agency (2006). A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), a Habitat Regulation Assessment as required by the European Habitats Directive and an Equalities Assessment will be undertaken and reported as part of the process.