Appointment of Special Appointees to the AONB Management Group

 In Get involved, National Landscape updates

The Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership created a new category of member on its management group – the ‘special appointee’.

There is currently a vacancy for one special appointee, who needs to have the knowledge and experience to present the wider viewpoint on the AONB in a combination of fields of relevance.

Special appointees will be expected to provide a voice for national, as well as the local interest of the AONB Partnership and complement the expertise of the other members. Special appointees are not appointed to represent the opinions of a particular group or organisation.

If you are interested in applying, the closing date for receipt of applications is 5pm on Thursday 31 October 2019. Interviews will be held in November, date to be confirmed.

Current composition of Blackdown Hills AONB’s management group

Blackdown Hills AONB Partnership organisations

Purpose of the AONB designation

The primary purpose of the designation of Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is to conserve and enhance natural beauty.

In pursuing the primary purpose account should be taken of the needs of agriculture, forestry and other rural industries and of the economic and social needs of local communities.

Particular regard should be paid to promoting sustainable forms of social and economic development that in themselves conserve and enhance the environment.

Recreation is not an objective of designation, but the demand for recreation should be met so far as this is consistent with the conservation of natural beauty and the needs of agriculture, forestry and other uses.

Role and function of the management group

Members of the AONB management group have the following key roles:

  • To provide a strategic lead in the protection, conservation and enhancement of the area’s natural beauty
  • To prepare, implement, monitor and review the AONB management plan on behalf of the constituent local authorities for the AONB with input from the Partnership
  • To promote enjoyment, understanding and well-being, and to encourage development in the Blackdown Hills AONB to be sustainable
  • To advise on and agree an annual business plan for the AONB staff team
  • To seek to ensure that the policy and practice of authorities and organisations with management responsibilities in the Blackdown Hills are consistent with and complement the AONB management plan objectives
    • To support the involvement of the community through the Partnership in the management of the AONB
    • To promote the distinctive qualities and national status of the AONB designation
    • To help identify and secure the resources required for the management of the AONB
    • To provide an accountable structure for the investment of government resources in the AONB

Time commitment

There are three management group meetings per year but it is envisaged that special appointees will wish to be involved with the AONB work outside these meetings and spend some six further days as an advocate for AONB purposes attending various working groups, events, etc.

Operational base

The AONB Partnership offices are in Hemyock, Devon. Management group meetings are held at various locations within the AONB, giving members of the public the chance to attend. Working groups and other meetings are usually held in Hemyock.

Period of appointment

Initial appointments are for a period of up to four years. An appointee cannot serve for more than two terms (eight years). An appointee may resign at any time by giving written notice to the AONB chairman.


These positions are unpaid but travel expenses can be claimed at local authority rate.

Ineligibility criteria

You cannot be considered as a Special Appointee to the Blackdown Hills AONB if you are:

  • A serving councillor of a local authority that has an appointed member on the Management Group
  • A board member, trustee or employee of an organisation on the AONB Partnership (see Appendix 1) that already has a representative on the management group
  • A serving employee of an AONB partnership or national park authority

Personal specification

Successful candidates will have:

  • an appreciation of the Blackdown Hills countryside from the point of view of someone who lives and works in it, or simply as someone who enjoys its qualities and want to see it managed more effectively
  • an understanding of the significance of the AONB designation and its statutory purposes
  • knowledge and an appreciation of the strategic issues facing the AONB Partnership
  • the ability to communicate effectively, show clarity and vision, and to make reasoned, balanced judgements
  • an awareness of social inclusion and diversity issues in relation to the AONB
  • and be prepared to undergo training to become a more effective member of the management group

It is desirable that a Special Appointee should have experience and/or knowledge of one or more of the following:

  • Landscape
  • Biodiversity
  • Cultural heritage
  • Climate change
  • Countryside recreation/tourism
  • Environmental education
  • Land use/land management
  • Agricultural/forestry
  • National and local policies for rural areas
  • Rural economy
  • Sustainable development

Of particular interest is an individual with experience in youth, diversity, community facilitating, volunteering, and nature & wellbeing experience, in order to support the AONB in these topic areas.

How to apply

To apply you will need to provide:

  • a personal statement of suitability, of not more than 500 words, giving evidence of your ability to meet the requirements outlined in the person specification (above), and your specific experience and knowledge that would assist in furthering AONB purposes.
  • A CV including details of your education, professional qualifications and employment history and the names and contact details of two referees.

Your personal statement of suitability and CV should be sent by email or post to arrive by 5pm, Thurs 31 October 2019 to:

Tim Youngs
Blackdown Hills AONB
EX15 3SH


For further information call Tim Youngs, AONB Manager, on 07890 615840 or email 

Application deadline: 5pm on Thursday 31 October 2019

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