The role of statutory designations to regulate activities is an important element in coastal zone management in Europe. In this paper we assess the utility of one such designation the “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” as a tool for coastal management in Northern Ireland. The designation is based on landscape quality and offers the potential for an integrated approach. However a variety of weaknesses reduce their effectiveness. Several suggestions are offered to improve the utility of this designation.
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Vol. 36 • No. sp1