AONB Structure Lacks Effectiveness In Scilly

aonb signThe Isles of Scilly Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has agreed to review its management structures after its own Joint Advisory Committee questioned its effectiveness.

Manager, Trevor Kirk, said there had been ongoing issues with the governance of the organisation and a feeling that the key areas had not been addressed.

Trevor said most of the 35 AONBs in England and Wales have some form of core executive group that can make effective decisions. The Scilly AONB is staffed by three officers and reports to the JAC, composed of councillors as well as representatives of groups such as the Duchy, Wildlife Trust and the RSPB.

But JAC vice chair, Johann Hicks, said they’d had problems for sometime getting mainland partners to attend meetings, particularly Natural England. And Cllr Richard McCarthy said he couldn’t remember the last time English Heritage had been there.

Zoe Julian, representing the Wildlife Trust, said the lack of attendance was indicative of the structure and if that was more effective, more people would come.

“It’s even more reason to get something in place that’s fit for purpose,” she said.

Duchy Land Steward Chris Gregory felt that the Joint Advisory Group lacked engagement with officers and recommend visiting some of the best examples of AONBs around the country to learn how they do it. That was frowned on by Cllr Amanda Martin, who didn’t want people to be taking too many trips to the mainland during this period of austerity.

A group of five JAC members will now review the AONB’s governance and report back in the summer.

AONBs are statutory bodies that were put in place to protect sensitive natural environments. They’re mainly funded by Defra with a significant contribution from the host local authority.