About the 2011 Conference

The National Association for AONBs (NAAONB), and the Cornwall, Isles of Scilly and Tamar Valley AONB Partnerships, look forward to welcoming you to Penryn 2011, the NAAONB’s 13th Annual Conference.

2011 is the International Year of Volunteers, a theme that coincides well with the coalition government’s Big Society agenda, and we will be looking at how the collaborative working of AONB partnerships can provide Local Solutions to National Issues.

A message from His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales will open the conference and then Defra Minister Richard Benyon MP, as keynote speaker, will clarify the future agenda for AONBs now that they are under direct sponsorship from Defra. This transfer of sponsorship represents a new era for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, confirming us as valued members of the UK’s protected landscape family. In developing a more mature relationship with government, we know that changes will be necessary. The AONB Family has already been embracing these changes by reducing expenditure, finding more cost-effective ways of doing things, pursuing new income streams, and making better use of our largest collective resource – AONB partnership members, staff and volunteers.

Financial challenges necessarily trigger new, imaginative, ways of working and there are many opportunities ahead. Partnership working helps us unlock the full potential of our greatest resource – the people that care passionately about these areas. And our Local Authorities are key players in this – they have a duty to have regard to the purposes of AONB designation.

Conference 2011 will consider all the above issues, with presentations from a highly regarded list of speakers which includes:
Richard Benyon MP, Defra Minister
Poul Christensen, Chairman, Natural England
Morgan Parry, Chairman, Countryside Council for Wales
Julian German, Environment Portfolio Holder, Cornwall Council
Malcolm Bell, CEO, VisitCornwall
Shaun Spiers, CEO, CPRE
Kevin Lavery, CEO, Cornwall Council
Peter Jefferson, CEO, Cornwall Rural Community Council
Manda Brookman, Director, CoaST

In addition there will be a series of practically focused field trips to the AONBs, to see examples of how the local AONB partnerships are dealing with the challenges and opportunities set before them. Whilst each field trip will be interesting and enjoyable in its own right, it will also focus on taking a landscape approach. Workshops on the final morning will link to the field trips and information gathered from these, together with the workshop conclusions, will be summarised and included with post-Conference papers. These will then be uploaded to this events website and to our main site at www.landscapesforlife.org.uk

Themes covered by the field trips and workshop sessions will include:

  • Developing wider engagement in the work of AONBs – outreach initiatives (young people, BMEs), volunteering initiatives,
  • Initiating and maintaining participation at the local level – sustaining interest and involvement in AONB issues in the longer term, initiatives supporting community organisations and organisers,
  • Building a framework of competency at the local level – educational and learning initiatives, neighbourhood planning initiatives and
  • Working to embed AONB delivery in the third sector – supporting co-operatives, health and social enterprise initiatives in AONBs.
  • The overall approach of the Conference is to demonstrate that the integrated collaborative approach taken by AONB partnerships locally makes the AONB Family, as a whole, a strategic national asset.

Delegates will leave Conference knowing that AONBs are vibrant, dynamic, functioning landscapes that help underpin the economy and the health and well-being of society.

It will be clear that AONBs are locally managed, nationally important, and deal with global issues.

In short, delegates will depart secure in the knowledge that AONBs are indeed:
Landscapes for Life.

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The National Association for AONBs is grateful to the following for sponsorship of Conference 2011:

Cornwall Council, VisitCornwall, The Wildlife Trusts Cornwall, Isles of Scilly Travel, Prideaux Place, Tribute Ales, National Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, Red Kite, Countryside Council for Wales, Natural England and Defra.