Landscape Conservation ENVS1

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  • Created on: 16-04-14 15:35

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Landscape Conservation for Informal Public Recreation - ENVS1

  • increased affluence, leisure time, car owners -> people are spending more time in the countryside -> important to conserve landscape

Landscape protection

  • conserving aesthetic appeal
  • maintenance of natural features/features produced by human activities
  • eg. woodlands/hedgerows/stone walls/in-field trees/ditches/ponds
  • some protected by preventing damaging activites
  • others need active management -> counteract natural processes (eg. ecological succession)

Landscape enhancement

  • planting small woodland areas
  • replacing conifers with mixed indigenous species
  • 'soft' riverbank management
  • restoration of river meanders

Visitor management

  • careful provision of facilities that do not damage the countryside
  • eg. paths/car parks/information points/recreational facilities
  • can be designed to fit into surroundings -> traditional designs, local materials
  • paths made of sand/gravel/stone
  • buildings/signs made of wood
  • car parks divided up with hedgesto disguise their size, and protective matting grass instead of tarmac
  • people will usually stay near the facilities available to them - the honeypot sites (areas that are attractive to visitors) -> protects sensitive wildlife sites and prevents disturbance
  • a honeypot site could include a visitors centre, cafe, toilets, guided walks

Governmental Organisations

Natural England/ Countryside Council for Wales

  • desginate areas for landscape conservation
  • set up controls/regulations -> must be followed by landowners/other users
  • protects against undesirable change
  • damaging changes prevented -> clearance of woodlands/urban expansion
  • beneficial management activities are carried out -> grazing meadows/moorlands to stop ecological succession and maintain the plagioclimax

National Parks

  • the original 10 National Parks in UK were established in the 1950s following the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act (1949) -> a response to growing demand for public access to the countryside
  • designated by Natural England (see above)
  • AIMS:
    • to conserve and enhance their natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage
    • to promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment
    • to maintain the rural economy
  • as they do not own the National Parks, the National Park Authority (organisation that runs a National Park) manage them by controlling the activites of landowners through planning  and development restricitions and management agreements
  • despite the aims being to protect and conserve, some controversial developments have taken place that seem to contradict the aims -> these are usually justified as being for the 'greater national good'
  • Some examples:
    • military training
    • reservoirs (flooding threatens habitats)
    • quarrying
    • conifer plantations
    • tourism developments
    • nuclear power stations/hydro electric power/wind farms
  • There are also conflicts of interest within the National Parks:
    • erosion - large numbers of people walking/cyclists/horse riders - soil erosion
      • can be prevented by directing visitors away from vulnerable areas or using resistant suraces for paths -> gravel, wood
    • congestion - large numbers of visitors in cars cause traffic congestion and increase pollution
      • encouraged use of public transport or bikes
    • disturbance of wildlife - trampled vegetation/ disruption of ground nesting birds, repeated disturbance can cause breeding failure
      • restricted access of vulnerable areas
    • litter - can cause livestock/wildlife to choke, become entangled and be injured   -> broken glass can act as a magnifying glass on sunny days and start fires
      • no litter signs, more bins, perhaps and litter fine
    • displacement of local community - living in a scenically beautiful area has attracted people to buy houses for retirement or as holiday homes, reducing number of houses available to local residents and driving house prices up -> restrictions on development prevent new houses being built to meet demand
      • houses can be built specifically for locals (eg. in Exmoor)
    • conflicts between recreational users - quiet activites such as walking/canoeing can be disturbed by water skiing/helicopter flights
      • speed limits for boats (eg. Lake District)

Areas of Outstanding National Beauty (AONBs)

  • designated for landscape qualities for the purpose of conserving and enhancing their natural beauty
    • includes landform, geology, plants, animals, landscape features, history of human settlement
  • designated by Natural England, but administered by the County Council
  • areas of scenic and recreational amenity value, like National Parks
  • generally less wild/remote and usually in hilly/lowland areas
  • more intensively used that National Parks, so agriculture, rural industry and residential areas are more important
    • inappropriate to place restrictions on these
  • fewer opportunities for open air recreation
  • rights of public access not an aim
  • proposals for developments are controlled by planning regulations -> less strict than National Parks
  • housing developments permitted for local needs, expanding existing industry permitted but new industry is not

Heritage Coasts

  • designated by Natural England
  • finest stretches of undeveloped coastline -> need to be protected from development, public access may be increased where appropriate

National Trails or Long-Distance Footpaths

  • designated by Natural England
  • establish public rights of way through landscape of great scenic value
  • created by linking footpaths, bridleways and minor roads to produce routes for walkers/cyclists/horse riders


  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • agri-environmental schemes, eg. ESS (Environmental Stewardship Scheme)
  • some aspects maintain historically important features of landscapes, eg. dry stone walls
  • others protect wildlife but also affect the appearance of the landscape, eg. hedgerows

Local Authorities

Country parks

  • areas of land, usually in/near urban centres, intended to provide informal recreational opportuinites for the public
  • many are abandoned/redeveloped industrial sites, or have others uses such as plantations, reservoirs

Urban Greenspace

  • in urban areas/urban parks 
  • provided for people that rarely see the countryside

Non-Governmental Organisations

The National Trust

  • protect threatened coastline, countryside and buildings
  • protects over 1130km of coastline
  • 250000 hectares of countyside
  • habitats managed/created for wildlife -> traditional techniques -> organic farming
  • enourage use of public transport

Land-use conflicts

Major causes:

  • urban expansion - increased population -> increased housing demand
    • where possible, brownfield sites used
    • many houses are on urban green spaces or where single buildings are replaced with several
    • increased overcrowding and congestion -> reduced quality of life
    • alternatives - build on greenfield sites (eg. farmland) around the urban area, or in new towns
  • transport developments 
    • road schemes - road usage has increased
      • congestion caused has lead to many schemes to expand existing roads/build new ones
    • proposed/enlarged airports - growth in air travel
      • usually near urban areas
      • results in loss of farmland, natural habitats, rural communities
      • noise and congestion problems
    • port developments - trade has increased, carried by sea
      • ports in sheltered locations -> estuaries -> destruction of sensitive habitats
  • mining/quarrrying
    • minerals only extracted when found in large deposits
    • often extracted in lowland areas where farmland is more fertile and population density is high
  • harnessing energy
    • windfarms
      • windiest places often most scenically attractive -> eg. coastal areas
      • people think windfarm spoil view
      • noise/sunlight reflected from blades can be a problem for locals
      • habitat loss caused by construction
      • rotating blades can kill birds
  • HEP (hydroelectric power)
    • often located in scenically beautiful areas - uplands
  • tidal barrages
    • impacts sensitive estuary habitats -> due to changes in water level, currents, turbidity

All of these schemes have impacts, but without alternative energy methods, using fossil fuels could potentially be more damaging.


  • increased visitors
  • damage by congestion, trampling, facility provision (carparks etc.)
  • activites of visitors may conflict

Waste Disposal

  • landfill sites take up land, release methane
  • incinerators are unpopular with locals
  • recycling requires public cooperation

Resolving Land-Use Conflicts

  • Planning Controls
  • permission needs to be granted
    • planning application made to local planning authority
    • if proposal is controversial/large -> public enquiry is held
    • all interested groups have the opportunity to present their cases to an independent inspector
    • the inspector compiles a report
    • submitted to the Secretary of State
    • usually accepts inspector's recommendation, but can overrule if there is a greater national priority
  • Areas with strict planning controls
    • National Parks
      • virtually no urban developments permitted -> unless essential/very desirable for local community
      • new housing restricted to needs of local community
      • buildings must be appropriate -> local materials, traditional designs
  • Green belts
    • prevent urban sprawl
    • administered by DEFRA
    • planning permission not usually granted within green belt unless refusing it would cause more problems -> eg. not widening a road - greater congestion
    • AIMS
      • protecting surrounding countryside from further invasion
      • stop neighbouring urban areas merging into one huge urban area
      • reduce congestion/loss of character
      • encourage urban regeneration of derelict brownfield sites within the urban area -> may have been abandoned as it is cheaper to develop into surrounding countryside
      • shortage of development -> land prices increase -> other developments more expensive -> disadvantage those on lower incomes
      • shortage of land for building -> encourages development of green spaces with in central area -> increases population density/congestion
      • new developments may 'leapfrog' green belt -> grow into new towns -> increases travel across green belt -> people may work inside green belt but live outside of it
  • Green wedges
    • same purposes as above
    • provide undeveloped areas of land in between where development is permitted
    • restricts new urban growth, but keeps it in contact with existing urban areas
    • provides green corridors linking surrounding countryside with central urban area
  • Space Zoning
    • allocating different parts of an area to activites that would conflict if they occured in the same place
    • some areas are sensitive to visitor pressure -> trampling, disturbance
  • Time zoning
    • allocating different time periods to activites that would conflict if they took place at the same time

Assessment of Environmental Impacts

  • Leopold Matrix
    • compares all overall impacts of a proposal
      • by considering each aspect seperately and assessing the severity of impact caused
    • combined to produce assessment of overall impact
    • physical/biological/social aspects looked at, given a score /10 depending on the magnitude of the impact
    • prevents too much importance being put on one effect, when many medium impacts could be worse
  • Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)
    • must be followed for major developments before they are granted development consent
    • ensures possible environmental impacts are considered
    • includes possible modifications of alternatives that would reduce its impact
    • Main stages are:
      • description of proposal
      • description of environment -> populations, animals, plants, air, soik, water, humans, landscape, cultural heritage
      • description of impacts -> often involves use of a Leopold Matrix (see above)
      • modifications that would reduce environmental impacts
      • possible alternatives
      • non-technical summary
      • summary must be published and must be understood by public
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • financial value given to all components
    • financial benefits/costs
    • eg. factors that could be include in a Cost-Benefit Analysis for a proposed mine includes:
      • Costs:
        • land/labour/material for access roads
        • costs of buying land for mine
        • labour/machinery/fuel for mine operations
        • lost income from tourists/visitors
        • reduced values of housing nearby
      • Benefits
        • increased local employment
        • improved transport access for industries using roads that were built
        • future benefits -> mine possibly developed into a country park etc.
    • Difficult to give a financial value to quality of life, people affected, wildlife affected etc.
    • When analysis is complete, costs subtracted from benefits -> if costs too high then the proposal may not go ahead


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