Put simply, landscape character is what makes an area unique. It is defined as "a distinct, recognisable and consistent pattern of elements, be it natural (soil, landform) and/or human (for example settlement and development) in the landscape that makes one landscape different from another, rather than better or worse".
We can only make informed and responsible decisions on the management and planning of sustainable future landscapes if we pay proper regard to their existing character.
By understanding how places differ we can also ensure that future development is well situated, sensitive to its location, and contributes to environmental, social and economic objectives.
The need to enhance landscape character is endorsed by the Government in planning policy statements and is one of the central aims of Environmental Stewardship.
Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) is a technique used to develop a consistent and comprehensive understanding of what gives England’s landscape its character.
It uses statistical analysis and application of structured landscape assessment techniques. LCAs provide more detailed descriptions and analysis at a local level within the national framework of National Character Areas.
The Landscape Character Network (LCN) provides an important forum for sharing best practice and helping to develop landscape character.
Landscape: beyond the view - A simple guide to understanding the forces and influences that shape our landscapes and their character