Natural England is the Government’s statutory adviser on landscape, with specific responsibilities for National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Heritage Coasts.
Our landscapes are an important part of our cultural heritage. With sympathetic planning, design and management they offer the opportunity to link people to the natural world for the benefit of both.
The 2004 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act introduced a development plan system and spatial approach to planning. There is now a statutory duty and overriding objective for development plans to contribute to “the achievement of sustainable development” and integrate social, economic and environmental objectives.
Spatial planning goes beyond traditional land use planning: it brings together and integrates policies for the development and use of land with other policies and programmes which influence the nature of places and how they function.
Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) is fundamental to this process because it is embedded in the classification, geographical distribution and understanding of place. The planning process operates at all levels from the national level through to local.
The following key statutes, regulations and national policies both directly and indirectly recognise landscape protection, management and planning in England.
The need to set out priorities for enhancing the landscape is stated by the Government in the National Planning Policy Framework and enhancing landscape character is one of the central aims of Environmental Stewardship.
Natural England also comments on various documents including: