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Landscape policy and guidance

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Devon’s landscape is subject to constant pressures for change, whether as a result of population increase, the need to strengthen our economy, changes in land management, visitor pressure, or the effects of climate change.

Devon Landscape Policy Group advice notes

Devon Landscape Policy Group Advice Note 1: A Guide to Devon’s landscape character assessments

Image of all of Devon, sub-divided into lots of colourful different Landscape Character Types and National Character AreasDLPG Advice Note 1 is about the landscape character assessments that form the shared evidence base for all types of statutory development plans (unitary, local, neighbourhood, minerals and waste) throughout the geographical county of Devon. In two pages, it summarises what landscape character assessments are, how they are used, what the Devon typologies consist of, and why they are important in planning and land management initiatives.

Devon Landscape Policy Group Advice Note 2: Accommodating wind and solar pv developments in Devon’s landscape.

Front cover of Devon Landscape Policy Group Advice Note 2: Accommodating Wind and Solar PV developments in Devon's Landscape. With image of field with wind turbine; green hills and solar panels; map of landscape character types; person looking over a view of coastDLPG Advice Note 2 provides guidance on minimising harm to the distinctive character and special qualities of Devon’s landscape through sensitive siting and design of these development types. It highlights aspects of the landscape that can indicate higher or lower sensitivity to these development types. The guidance, which was prepared in 2013 by LUC on behalf of the Devon Landscape Policy Group, has been extensively used in both strategic planning and management of these development types in Devon, and now forms part of the evidence base for many existing and emerging Local Plans throughout Devon.

Devon Landscape Policy Group Advice Note 3: Principles of defining and maintaining the character of Devon’s undeveloped coast.

Image of front cover of report, with blocks of text.DLPG Advice Note 3 (consultation draft 2013) proposes guiding principles to defining Devon’s undeveloped coast and maintaining its character, in response to the National Planning Policy Framework (114). Taking into account seascape character and Devon’s previous county designation of Coastal Protection Area delivered successfully through the Devon Structure Plan (abolished in 2012), it aims to ensure a consistent approach when planning strategically across administrative boundaries, including between Local and Marine Plans. The Devon Landscape Policy Group held a workshop to discuss the draft principles in July 2013, and invited submission of written comments on the draft. A final version has not been issued to date.

Devon Landscape Policy Group Advice Note 4: Using Landscape Character assessments in Neighbourhood Planning

Image of front cover of report, with image of green hills, farmland, hedgerows and countrysideDLPG Advice Note 4, published in June 2015, is intended for use by those involved inImage of logo (blue and yellow wavy lines) for RTPI South West Awards for Planning Excellence commended 2017 the preparation of Neighbourhood Plans. It describes the concept of ‘landscape’, and why it should be considered in neighbourhood planning. It introduces Devon’s landscape character assessments and how this evidence can be used and applied in the development of local policies relating to landscape. It also includes useful tips and sources of further information.

DLPG Advice Note 4 is being used by neighbourhood planners and was commended by the Royal Town Planning Institute in its South West Awards for Planning Excellence in 2017.

Devon Landscape Policy Group: Landscape Character Assessment Protocol

This protocol, published in December 2017, is about helping Devon planning authorities ensure that existing landscape character assessment evidence base is up to date and consistent with neighbouring Devon authorities. It is aimed at planners and landscape officers involved in updating Local Plan evidence base, and landscape professionals undertaking the work. Part 2 includes a useful checklist to ensure updated LCAs meet minimum requirements.

Devon’s Tranquil Areas: Towards an approach to understanding and accounting for tranquility in planning and decision-making

Report cover for Devon's Tranquil Area, with image of green hills, woodland, stone wall and moorland behind.

This report records the opinions and ideas on this subject expressed by local authority officers at two workshops held in 2016 and 2017. The attendees from across Devon spanned health, economy, landscape, planning and noise specialisms. The need to identify and protect tranquil areas was established in the National Planning Policy Framework 2012 (sections 123 and 77) and remains in the updated NPPF 2018 (100 and 180) . A multi-disciplinary team of officers, known as the Devon Tranquillity Working Group, organised the workshops and commissioned LUC to write the report. It is hoped that its findings will help inform a Tranquillity Advice Note, to inform planning and other decisions related to tranquillity in the absence of any specific Government guidance on the subject.

Highway management in Devon’s Protected Landscapes

Devon County Council has adopted a protocol and accompanying guidance for highway design and management in Devon’s nationally and internationally protected landscapes. The principles of the guidance may be applied in all rural areas of Devon.  Both documents were produced in 2011 in association with our two National Parks, five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and two Unesco World Heritage Sites.

How do we protect and enhance what we value in our landscapes whilst planning for sustainable development and managing change?

We protect and enhance what we value in our landscapes in the following ways:

  • Landscape designations such as National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty aim to protect the beauty of our very best and and nationally valued landscapes. The protection of these is covered by legislation and is reflected in national and local planning policies. Devon’s protected landscapes are each accompanied by a Management Plan that seeks to safeguard its special qualities and manage change.
  • The National Planning Policy Framework requires local planning authorities to work across administrative boundaries to deliver strategic planning priorities including the conservation and enhancement of the landscape. This includes maintaining the character of Devon’s undeveloped coast, and identifying and protecting areas of tranquillity. It also encourages sustainable development to be well sited and of a good design quality that responds to local character, protects and enhances valued landscapes, and mitigate adverse effects through good design, ensuring development addresses the connection between people and place and is integrated into the environment.
  • The distinctive character and special qualities of all Devon landscapes is described and articulated through Devon’s landscape character assessments. Landscape policies in local development documents should refer to these evidence bases in order to encourage sensitive siting and design of development that minimises harm to the character and valued qualities of Devon’s landscape. Guidelines set down within Devon’s landscape character assessments encourage landowners to maintain and enhance local landscapes in a way that sustains landscape character and quality for future generations.
  • Specific guidance on landscape related issues can encourage best practice and a high standard of siting and design of development. Guidance may be National or Devon-specific.

Useful links