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The Suffolk & Essex Coast & Heaths National Landscape is an outstanding landscape. Our landscapes have always changed over time, but the fundamental quality of National Landscapes should retain their natural beauty. It is the aspiration and legal duty placed on statutory bodies to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the area.

Whilst the name of Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) was changed in November 2023 to Suffolk & Essex Coast & Heaths National Landscape, the legal designation remains the same and therefore for the purposes of planning and statutory work, the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB will continue to be used.

An AONB is not about preserving the landscape or having no development, but as an area that is designated for its outstanding landscape development should contribute to its natural beauty.

The Suffolk Coast is also recognised as a key location for the delivery of a number of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Schemes, including large scale offshore wind projects and a 3rd nuclear power station at Sizewell.

The need for new development must be carefully balanced against the requirement to conserve and enhance the Natural Beauty of the AONB. Any planning applications coming forward within the AONB must seek to further the statutory purpose i.e. to conserve and enhance the AONB's natural beauty underpinning designation , in accordance with Section 85 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, 

They must also satisfy the objectives of paragraphs 182 and 183 of the National Planning Policy Framework, relevant policies in Local Plans covering the AONB and objectives in the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB Management Plan 2023-28.

Distant view of boats on river

Planning Overview

People at Walberswick Green

Our role in Planning

A photo of heather, gorse and pine trees

Guidance for Planning

Landscape view of Snape and river

Key Legislation

View of Aldeburgh from the air

Planning and the Management Plan

Starry Sky over the horizon

Position Statements

Sizewell Nuclear Plant seen from a beach

Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects

A windmill at Thorpeness up against a blue sky

Boundary Maps