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  • 1. The Macaulay Institute Aberdeen Final Report:A Critical Review of Local Landscape Designations in Scotland Dr Alister Scott and Peter Shannon Socio-Economic Research Programme Macaulay Institute Craigiebuckler Aberdeen 1
  • 2. Contents1. Introduction 42. Aims 73. Local Landscape Designations: Policy Background 74. Local Landscape Designations: The English and Welsh 11 Experience5. Local Landscape Designations: The Scottish Experience 136. Methodology 177. Results 218. Discussion 519. Conclusions and Further Research 5810. References 63 2
  • 3. Acknowledgements The authors gratefully acknowledge the funding of this independent research from the Macaulay Development Fund. Special acknowledgement is made to Scottish Natural Heritage and their staff who allowed access to internal material and offered valuable advice throughout the project. Finally thanks are due to those local authority staff who participated in the project. 3
  • 4. 1 Introduction1.1 Landscapes play an important part in our lives, shaping our national, regional andlocal identities, affecting our quality of life and providing the context within which social andeconomic development takes place.1.2 Within a UK context it is the uplands and coasts that have been particularly favouredby policy makers within National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Gold andBurgess (1982) criticise this bias and argue that more local and accessible ruralenvironments, although experienced by a majority, have been neglected. At the local level itis the distinctive identities of landscapes with particular associations and interactionsbetween people and place which are of significant value and which are increasinglycontested in the face of competing pressures for change. The strength of attachment tothese ‘ordinary’ places and landscapes frequently only emerges when they are threatened bychange. Familiarity and experience with landscape have long been recognised as importantfactors in perception studies by Burgess et al (1988) and Penning-Rowsell (1982). AsTapsell (1995) acknowledges, the most valued open areas are often the familiar ones whichplay a part in peoples daily lives and experiences.1.3 The town and country planning system is the principal institution used to resolvecompeting interests in the landscape. This is achieved primarily through a system ofdesignation and associated policy development recommending restraint through whichelected planning committees ultimately adjudicate. However, today designations areincreasingly questioned as to whether they represent the best and most equitable means ofdeciding the kind of landscapes stakeholders really want and value (Scott and Bullen, 2004;Welsh Assembly Government, 2004). 4
  • 5. 1.4 This research responds to local authorities and other stakeholders’ concernsregarding the status of local landscapes and the current mechanisms in place for theirconservation and enhancement. Whilst there is a general policy presumption againstdevelopment in the open countryside there are Local Landscape Designations (LLDs) whichprovide the main focus of the research. Widely used by local authorities since the 1960s asplanning tools for landscape management in the UK, they remain significantly under-researched and misunderstood by public, planners and policy makers alike (Scott andBullen,2004; Scott, 2001). Yet, in theory, they offer an avenue within which local landscapepriorities can be identified and realised in policy terms.1.5 As landscape management tools, LLDs sit beneath the national tier of designations(National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Green Belts and National ScenicAreas (Scotland)) and arguably provide complementarity as local and flexible frameworks forlandscape protection and enhancement (Scottish Natural Heritage and Historic Scotland,2005).1.6 Local designations, in comparison to their national counterparts1, have largelyoperated on a top-down presumption of perceived value with little research or evaluation intotheir efficacy and additionality in planning practice, especially given the strong generalplanning policies of constraint currently operating in the wider countryside.1.7 This neglect is curious given the significant reservations from government andnational agencies in their published guidance on LLDs for their future use and development(ODPM, 2003; 2005; Rural Development Commission 1998; Scott and Bullen, 2004).Furthermore, the fact that LLDs sit within what some people consider to be an increasinglycomplex suite of designations impacting upon the UK raises wider issues about the need forrationalisation of designations more generally (Bowen Rees, 1995; O’Riordan, 1983).1 For a detailed review see Scott and Bullen (2004) 5
  • 6. 1.8 Previous research from Wales raised questions about the role, consistency andappropriateness of LLDs, given their impacts on the wider countryside and reported upon aperception of ineffectiveness of such designations in planning and landscape enhancement.Crucially, the lack of public awareness and involvement in LLD designation and managementwas identified as a major inconsistency given their alleged local imperatives (Scott andBullen, 2004).1.9 This report considers the Scottish experience where, for the first time in the UK,comprehensive guidance for local landscape designations has been published by ScottishNatural Heritage and Historic Scotland (2005). This research, funded by the MacaulayInstitute can be seen as a useful adjunct to this guidance by providing the opportunity for anin-depth assessment of LLD theory and practice across a range of rural and urban localauthorities.1.10 The report begins with a general policy review of local landscape designations withparticular analysis of the Scottish experience and legislative background. The core of thereport focuses on the results of primary and secondary data obtained from all 32 localauthorities in Scotland, together with an assessment of the recently published SNH/HSguidance (2005). 6
  • 7. 2 Aims2.1 Four key aims lie behind this work • to identify and explain current approaches to LLD use and designation; • to critically assess LLDs as planning and landscape management tools; • to provide a preliminary assessment of the efficacy of current guidance for LLDs; and • to assess what role, if any, LLDs might play for the future.3 Local Landscape Designations: Policy Background3.1 Scott and Bullen (2004) provide a critical review of the wider context of landscapedesignations in the planning system and the development of local landscape designationsfrom English and Welsh perspectives.2 Their narrative reveals how landscape protectioninitially focussed on protecting upland landscapes, reflecting key personal biases inherentwithin the Dower and Hobhouse reports and enshrined in subsequent legislation for nationalparks in 1949 (Shoard et al, 1982a). Here the approach to landscape protection, widelypractised for the rest of the century, was one firmly rooted in “drawing lines on maps”.3.2 Designation provided the security and tool for planners around which policies ofconstraint could be developed, positioned and strengthened, albeit with questionablesuccess as agriculture and forestry lay outside formal planning control and were able toeffect significant and detrimental landscape change (Shoard, 1982b).2 The paper uses the term ‘non-statutory designations’ which has been changed to ‘local landscapedesignations’ as by default all policies and designations in the development plan are seen as statutory.The term ‘local landscape designations’ is therefore less ambiguous. 7
  • 8. 3.3 The guiding principle behind designation was that particular landscapes weredeemed more ‘special’ than elsewhere based on key criteria of importance and sensitivity.Such ‘landscape elitism’ was widely contested by key stakeholders and land managers,particularly given the perceived negative implications of designation on rural developmentactivity. However, there is emerging evidence that this wholly negative view might bechanging. For example, the clamour for inclusion by communities in the Scottish nationalparks and the low level of protest in the roll out of NATURA 2000 flows from the increasingrecognition that designation can bring benefits to the area from different funding regimes atEuropean, national and regional levels.3.4 However, towards the end of the twentieth century designation was slowly beingchallenged through the development of a new conceptual approach to landscape thatfocussed on ‘landscape character’. Landscape was seen “as an area, as perceived bypeople, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or humanfactors” (Council of Europe, 2000: Article 1). This placed the emphasis on managementprescriptions that tried to protect or enhance the character of any particular landscapethereby shaping a broader, and arguably more inclusive approach to landscape planning andmanagement.3.5 The European Landscape Convention recognises the importance of “protecting,managing and enhancing landscapes” with signatories to the Convention agreeing to includedevelopment and management issues relating to landscape in public decision makingprocesses. Unfortunately, the UK government has not signed up to this yet. 8
  • 9. 3.6 The main focus of UK work has been the national programme of LandscapeCharacter Assessment (LCA) which has been undertaken in different ways across Wales(LANDMAP) (Countryside Council for Wales 2001) and Scotland/England (LCA)(Countryside Agency/Scottish Natural Heritage 2002). This programme has enabled alllandscapes to be surveyed and described in terms of their key characteristics, though atpresent there is a risk that this will remain as a domesday style record. Further work hasensued looking at landscape capacity, tolerance to change and landscape quality, albeit withvariable results (Scott and Falzon, 2004; Nottingham Consultants, 2004; Swanwick, 2003).3.7 The different approaches inherent with landscape designation versus landscapecharacter approaches are summarised in Box 1. The fundamental difference is thatlandscape character assessments are more inclusive across all landscapes with a degree ofdynamism and integration that is absent from traditional designations of landscapeimportance that tend by their very nature to be hierarchical.3.8 Boundary issues are also fuzzier where character is concerned. The impact of a linein a designation has much more significance than a character boundary. This brings sharplyinto focus the methods and tools involved in the boundary process as well as recognition thatsuch decisions can be politically motivated, as evidenced in the recent designation of theCairngorm National Park (Illsley and Richardson, 2004). However, as Jones (2002) hasstated, “landscape character does not preclude the development of designations thereafter”.For example several local authorities in Wales have used LANDMAP LCA as a basis forsubsequent LLD designation citing the method as a means of providing greater rigour todesignation (Scott and Bullen, 2004). 9
  • 10. Characterisation DesignationPurpose Describes all landscape character Identifies special landscapes in the types in the local authority area. local authority area.Scope Provides a basis for distinguishing Identifies more discrete areas of different landscape character types landscape considered to be of higher and identifying landscape sensitivity. merit and which may comprise a combination of landscape character types.Approach Based on an assessment of defined Based on an assessment of landscape features. landscape importance.Outcomes Informs development of general Informs development of specific landscape policies and guidelines planning policies geared towards for all landscape character types. enhanced protection and management of particular areas.Treatment Boundaries are based on landscape More precisely drawn boundaries areof character areas and are more defined by a range of criteria,boundaries transitional in nature. including landscape character, visual envelopes and topographic features.Box 1: Landscape Characterisation and Landscape Designation Compared (SourceSNH/HS (2005) 10
  • 11. 4 Local Landscape Designations3: The English and Welsh experience4.1 The development of LLD policy in England and Wales began in 1973 when theCountryside Commission issued guidance to local authorities when preparing Areas of GreatLandscape Value (Cobham Resource Consultants, 1993). Thereafter, there was an advisoryvacuum with little guidance until the Policy Planning Guidance notes of the late 1980s (PPG7 the Countryside and the Rural Economy). More recently, Planning Policy Statements (PPS)emerged, where PPS7 (Sustainable Development in Rural Areas) explicitly addressed LLDs(ODPM, 2005 par24-25).4.2 This planning guidance was rooted in caution- 24 “The Government recognises and accepts that there are areas of landscape outside nationally designated areas that are particularly highly valued locally. The Government believes that carefully drafted, criteria-based policies in LDDs, utilising tools such as landscape character assessment, should provide sufficient protection for these areas, without the need for rigid local designations that may unduly restrict acceptable, sustainable development and the economic activity that underpins the vitality of rural areas. 25 Local landscape designations should only be maintained or, exceptionally, extended where it can be clearly shown that criteria-based planning policies cannot provide the necessary protection. LDDs should state what it is that requires extra protection, and why. When reviewing their local area-wide development plans and LDDs, planning authorities should rigorously consider the justification for retaining existing local landscape designations. They should ensure that such designations are based on a formal and robust assessment of the qualities of the landscape concerned.”4.3 Scott and Bullen (2004) in their research in Wales found that such caution was not inevidence with an ad-hoc approach to LLDs which raised various questions as to their overalleffectiveness, signalling a need for more research and policy debate given their potentialimpacts in landscape management and planning. Of primary concern was the mechanismsby which LLD boundaries were drawn, the rigour of methodologies used, the lack of archivalinformation on the initial development of the designation, the different roles LLDs performed, 11
  • 12. the lack of public awareness and involvement, the lack of consistency towards planningapplications in LLD and the wider countryside, the lack of formal evaluations of theireffectiveness, the lack of joint working across unitary authority boundaries and the lack ofboundary reviews.4.4 On the positive side, however, the development of LCAs through the LANDMAPexercise was seen to provide the necessary rigour for designation which some localauthorities had pursued. Scott and Bullen (2004) suggest there was a strong case fortailoring LLDs towards a more community-led role in keeping with the locally based nature ofthe designation, where additionality and clarity could be better identified. Here, the LocalNature Reserve concept was seen as useful model to emulate.4.5 Their key conclusion, however, was over the emerging tension between planners andothers over using the more radical landscape character assessments as the prime decisionmaking tool versus using such assessments to improve existing local landscapedesignations. This had led to a mixed and inconsistent picture across Wales with someauthorities abandoning LLDs whilst others had re-invented them.3 For a full review please refer to Scott and Bullen, (2004) 12
  • 13. 5 Local Landscape Designations : The Scottish Experience5.1 In Scotland there is a different history and legislative background to LLDs. This isdiscussed in some detail below as it provides vital context to the current research reportedhere.5.2 The first piece of Scottish guidance lay with Circular 2/1962 which set out actions thatlocal planning authorities should take where outstanding scenic areas required specialconsideration under the Planning Acts. All local authorities were to survey their areas toidentify “areas of great landscape value (AGLV) which can be described as vulnerable in thesense that there are or may be pressures for development that may affect them in one wayor other”.5.3 For each area identified, local planning authorities were to prepare a writtenstatement of the general character and quality of the area, definition of the boundaries andpolicy for control and phasing of development. Significantly, there was no further guidanceuntil 1999 when National Planning Policy Guideline (NPPG) 14 indicated that planningauthorities should avoid the unnecessary proliferation of local designations. Nevertheless, itconfirmed the continuing relevance of AGLVs and other local landscape designationsalongside new methodological developments of landscape character assessment. It statedthat boundaries should be clearly defined and justified in development plans. The guidancemade it clear that AGLVs were at a level in a hierarchy below national designations with clearimplications for the level and nature of protection.5.4 More recently, Planning Advice Note 60 addresses local designations includingAGLVs. It suggested that local designations were “of most value where they form part of awider landscape and habitat framework and contribute to the realisation of Natural HeritageStrategy, LBAP or Local Agenda 21 objectives to enhance the quality of urban living and help 13
  • 14. make an area more attractive as a location of economic activity” (par. 39). This morepositive and strategic role represented an interesting shift in view from the more cautionarystatements elsewhere in the UK.5.5 With specific reference to AGLVs, PAN 60 suggested that a single tier of sub-nationaldesignations should be sufficient for practical planning purposes, with areas selectedbecause of their importance beyond their ‘immediate locale’. It also recommended thepreparation of specific development guidelines to safeguard their landscape character.5.6 Guidance published by SNH and HS (2005) builds from this national policyframework. At the outset the report states that “local landscape designations are a well-established and valued approach to protecting and guiding change in areas of particularlandscape importance” (1.1). Here there is explicit recognition of the value of LLDs and theguidance sees no tension between an all landscapes approach via the landscape characterassessment process and the revitalisation of LLDs through three interrelated roles: asaccolades, through policy development and as management tools.5.7 The interesting observation from this viewpoint is that designations are seen asproviding something extra that an all-landscapes approach cannot, a theme observed in theWelsh study where some planners were reluctant to relinquish the traditional security of lineson maps in favour of a more integrated approach for fear of increased development pressureand loss of countryside. Scott and Bullen (2004) speculated that it was the economicdeterminism of planning committees with respect to interpretation of planning policies thatwas instrumental in driving this response. 14
  • 15. 5.8 This 2005 guidance is highly significant as it represents the only substantivedocument on LLDs in the UK and it therefore demands closer inspection. Its remit is to: • promote greater understanding and support for local landscape designations among local authorities, the public and other key stakeholders; • reaffirm the role of local landscape designations as part of an ‘all landscapes’ approach and define the circumstances when they could be used; • secure greater consistency in the selection and use of local landscape designations by local authorities; and • clarify the relationship of local landscape designations to the wider family of Scotland’s landscape designations. p65.9 The guidance provides a useful checklist for local authorities to consider LLDdesignation based on a range of different criteria that includes:- landscape character(typicality, rarity, condition); landscape qualities (scenic, enjoyment, cultural, naturalness);landscape criteria (significance, representativeness and relative merit); and practical criteria(need, integrity and support, including public support). These criteria bear more than apassing resemblance to the Countryside Commission criteria for designating AGLVsoriginally published in 1973 (Scott and Bullen, 2004).5.10 However, the process and methodology by which particular landscapes are valuedand assessed for LLDs is seen as a matter for local authorities themselves to decide upon, inpartnership with experts and stakeholders. The guidance argues that a national frameworkis inappropriate as these are essentially locally derived designations and the use of a “onesize fits all” approach would be problematic (3.9-3.10). Therefore a menu driven approach isfavoured which local authorities can adapt to local circumstances. The guidance does stressthe need for transparent and rigorous methods to be employed so they can be defendedunder cross examination at public local inquiry and here there is specific mention of the roleof pilot capacity studies such as in Cupar (Fife Council, 2004). It also recommends the needfor improved strategic management of LLDs through better arrangements for cross authorityworking and co-operation where LLDs are near or cross boundaries, the need for systematicreviews of boundaries and improved community involvement and awareness in LLDdesignation and management. 15
  • 16. 5.11 In terms of planning policies the guidance also makes some key recommendationswhich reflect the focus of LLDs as positive landscape management tools rather than negative”no development zones. Furthermore, there is a role for Supplementary Planning Guidancecovering issues such as design and capacity, which could steer quality applications in theseareas. Other tools such as management statements and complementary designations suchas regional parks are also seen as having a role to play in changing the traditional negativeoutlook of LLDs. 5.5 In terms of best practice, development plan policies should recognise the positive contribution that appropriate development and other land use change can often make to the landscape character and qualities of the designated area. Nevertheless, some development and land use change will be inappropriate for such areas. Development should therefore generally only be permitted within a local landscape designation when i) it will not have significant adverse impacts on the special character or qualities of the landscape of the area; ii) the social and economic benefits of the development are considered to be more than of just local significance in the context of the local authority area. For development that meets these tests, the location, scale, design, materials, and landscaping should be of a high standard and, where appropriate, should seek to enhance the special qualities and character of the landscape.SNH/HS (2005):245.12 Certainly the national guidance provides a useful template upon which to base ourresearch method and deliberations. 16
  • 17. 6 Methodology6.1 A letter was sent to all planning directors within the 32 unitary authorities in Scotland(Figure 1) outlining the aims of the research and requesting interviews with key developmentcontrol and forward planning staff. A copy of the interview schedule (Box 2) was included soas to allow officers adequate time to prepare and collate the necessary information anddocumentation prior to the interview. Special Landscape Interview list 1. Explain the purpose of the research a. To examine the role and effectiveness of non statutory landscape designations as planning and landscape management tools 2. Any response made to the SNH study on role of NSD for guidance 2003/4 3. What designations affecting landscape exist within the county a. Include all designations (hierarchy) Conservation areas, NSA, Green Belts (Need maps) b. What designations do you have NOW that are non statutory (landscape) and others e.g. nature conservation/community. (Define non statutory as designations confirmed and under the sole control of the local authority independent of any other agency ) c. What non stat designations have you had in the PAST 4. Extent (For each non stat designation (NSD)) a. Are there maps of these designations b. Area of land of these designations c. Predominant land use/type 5. Definition (For each NSD) a. How do you define it (compare) b. How is the designation defined (refer to stated policy if possible) c. How does it fit in with the other designations d. How does it fit in with neighbouring authorities (is there are strategic approach) e. Ensure we have all relevant extant development plan policy numbers that are relevant to NSD) If possible the whole development plan and/or other strategies (the landscape strategy is a key documents ) f. Try to compile an up-to-date list of the relevant plans that are passed, prematurity, (take care to get SP and LP updates 6. Designation (For each NSD) a. How were they designated (and when) (give criteria if possible) b. Have the boundaries reviewed at any time c. Role of public/community involvement in the process. 7. Differences between (NSD) and policies in development plans for wider countryside a. Additionality in policy emphasis or planner perception between NSD and WC b. What happens when a planning application falls in a NSD are there special procedures invoked for development control staff c. Do you have a process of informal negotiation with developers to advise about NSD (have you any figures to quantify how many applications were prevented) d. Level of development pressure in NSD vs. WC e. Use of planning tools to achieve NSD objectives ; conditions vs. refusals 8. SWOT analyses PROMPTS a. Are all NSD viewed the same here or are some better than others b. Especially whether the designation is understood by the developers and local community and local members 9. Role of landscape character assessment a. Is LCA changing your perception about the role of NSD b. How are you using LCA to guide landscape management in your county (more NSD vs. Abolishment) 10. Future a. What are your strategic plans for NSD (are they being proposed in development plans b. How do you respond to landscape elitism vs. landscape character tensionBox 2 Interview questions sent to planning officers in advance of meetings. 17
  • 18. 6.2 Fifteen authorities agreed to an in-depth interview (Table 1). For most interviews twomembers of the planning staff (development control and forward planning) were seen, but insome authorities three officers were interviewed in order to include staff responsible forlandscape management. Semi-structured interviews lasting around two hours were carriedout between January and May 2005. They were taped, transcribed and subjected tothematic content analysis. The interview schedule (Box 2) sought to capture both interviewand documentary evidence. The attitudes and perceptions of officers relating to the role,efficacy and future status of LLDs as planning and landscape tools were elicited as proxiesfor planning practice, while documentary policy analyses of development plans wereundertaken to indicate the theory.Council Method of survey GIS data AvailableAberdeen City Council Face to Face Interview FullAberdeenshire Council Face to Face Interview FullAngus Council Face to Face Interview FullArgyll and Bute Council Questionnaire FullClackmannanshire Council Questionnaire FullComhairle nan Eilean Siar Video Conference FullDumfries & Galloway Council Questionnaire FullDundee City Council Questionnaire FullEast Ayrshire Council Face to Face Interview FullEast Dunbartonshire Council Questionnaire FullEast Lothian Council Questionnaire FullEast Renfrewshire Council Questionnaire FullEdinburgh City Council Face to Face Interview FullFalkirk Council Questionnaire FullFife Council Face to Face Interview FullGlasgow City Council Face to Face Interview FullHighland Council Face to Face Interview PartialInverclyde Council Face to Face Interview FullMidlothian Council Questionnaire FullMoray Council Questionnaire FullNorth Ayrshire Council Face to Face Interview FullNorth Lanarkshire Council Face to Face Interview FullOrkney Islands Council Video Conference PartialPerth & Kinross Council Questionnaire PartialRenfrewshire Council Face to Face Interview FullScottish Borders Council Questionnaire FullShetland Islands Council Telephone Interview FullSouth Ayrshire Council Questionnaire FullSouth Lanarkshire Council Questionnaire FullStirling Council Questionnaire FullWest Dunbartonshire Council Questionnaire FullWest Lothian Council Unable to respond due to lack of time PartialTable 1: Information approach for authorities participating in LLD research 18
  • 19. 6.3 The remaining 17 authorities were contacted by telephone to secure theirinvolvement in a follow up questionnaire prioritizing spatial data to build up a comprehensivegeographic information database about LLDs but with the opportunity for comments on LLDs.One authority was unable to respond due to lack of staff time.6.4 Complementing the data obtained, we were also able to analyse the writtencomments of 27 local authorities received by Scottish Natural Heritage as part of theirconsultation on LLDs which provided the basis for the 2005 guidance. 19
  • 20. 27 23 Scottish Council Areas 13 1 Aberdeen City 2 Aberdeenshire 3 Angus 4 Argyll & Bute 5 Clackmannanshire 6 Dumfries & Galloway 20 7 Dundee City 17 8 East Ayrshire 9 East Dunbartonshire 2 10 East Lothian 1 11 East Renfrewshire 12 Edinburgh City 13 Comhairle nan Eilean Siar 14 Falkirk 3 15 Fife 24 16 Glasgow City 7 17 Highland 18 Inverclyde 4 19 Midlothian 30 15 5 20 Moray 21 North Ayrshire 18 31 9 14 12 10 22 North Lanarkshire 25 16 22 32 23 Orkney Islands 19 24 Perth & Kinross 21 11 25 Renfrewshire 29 26 Scottish Borders 8 26 27 Shetland Islands 28 South Ayrshire Rural 28 29 South Lanarkshire 6 30 Stirling Urban 31 West Dunbartonshire 32 West Lothian Crown copyright Ordnance Survey. All rights reserved. 0 25 50 100 Kilometres MLURI Licence No. GD27237X 2005.Figure 1: Map of 32 Unitary Authorities in Scotland 20
  • 21. 7 Results 27 Partial Spatial Data Council Areas Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes Local Landscape Designitions Future Removal of Local Landscape Designations 23 13 Scottish Council Areas 1 Aberdeen City 2 Aberdeenshire 3 Angus 4 Argyll & Bute 5 Clackmannanshire 6 Dumfries & Galloway 17 7 Dundee City 20 8 East Ayrshire 9 East Dunbartonshire 2 10 East Lothian 1 11 East Renfrewshire 12 Edinburgh City 13 Comhairle nan Eilean Siar 14 Falkirk 3 15 Fife 24 16 Glasgow City 7 17 Highland 18 Inverclyde 15 19 Midlothian 30 5 20 Moray 4 21 North Ayrshire 31 9 14 10 22 North Lanarkshire 18 16 22 32 12 23 Orkney Islands 25 19 21 11 24 Perth & Kinross 25 Renfrewshire 29 26 Scottish Borders 8 26 27 Shetland Islands 28 South Ayrshire 28 29 South Lanarkshire 6 30 Stirling 31 West Dunbartonshire 32 West Lothian Crown copyright Ordnance Survey. Scottish Natural Heritage 0 25 50 100 Kilometres Local Authority copyright see Appendix 1Figure 2: Map of LLDs across Scotland 21
  • 22. 7.2 7.1 Ab e Ab rde er en de C en ity sh C o 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% ire u C Ar n la gyl An Co cil D ckm l an gus un um a d C ci f ri nn Bu ou l es an t e n & sh C ci l G ire ou a D llo Co nci un w l Identity and extent Ea a u st Ea dee y C ncil D st C i o u un Ay ty nc ba rs C il rto hir ou approximating 2,534 km2. Ea Ea ns e C ncil st st h i r o u R Lo e C nc en th o il Ed f rew ian unc C in sh Co il Figure 3: Area extent of LLDs om b u ha urg ire C nc irl h C o il e u na ity nc n Co i l Ei u Fa a le n c lk n S i l G irk i la C ar sg Fi ou ow fe nc C il H Cit y oun ig hl C cil In22 an ou ve d nc M rcly Cou il % of Area id de n lo th Co cil N ia n un N or M C c or t h or ou il t h A ay n La yrs C cil O nar hire oun rk C c n ks Pe ey hir ou il rth Isl e C nci & an o l u R Ki d s n c Sc enf nro Co il ot rew ss un c Stirling all have over 50% of their land area under LLDs (Figure 3). Sh tish sh Co il et Bo ire unc la n rd Co il er u S d n So ou Isla s C cil ut t h nd ou h Ay s nc La rs Co il W na hi u es rk re nci tD sh C l ire ou un n ba Stir Co cil rto lin un W n g C cil es sh t L ire oun o t C ci l hi ou an n C cil ou nc il deletions in forthcoming development plans. They cover extensive areas of urban and rural Scotland, representing some 29% of the total land area. Significantly, those authorities that are abandoning or intend to abandon LLDs do involve considerable landholdings, Figure 2 reveals the current extent of LLDs across Scotland including proposed When the extent of LLDs is broken down by local authority, it is clear that most authorities use LLDs to some extent but North and South Ayrshire, Fife, Midlothian and
  • 23. Land Cover Scotland 1988 Rough Grassland Arable Rough Grassland+Peatland Broadleaved Woodland Rush Dominated Grassland Built-up and Developed Land Semi-Natural Coniferous Woodland Dry Heather Moor Smooth Grassland +/- Scrub or Bracken Heather Moor+Peatland Undifferentiated Heather Moor Improved Pasture Water Links and Dunes Wet Heather Moor Missing Data Wetland Mixed Woodland Montane Vegetation Montane and Other Vegetation Other Peatland Peatland+Other Habitats Plantation Woodland Rock/Cliff Crown copyright Ordnance Survey. Copyright Scottish Natural Heritage Crown copyright 1992 0 25 50 100 Local Authority copyright see Appendix 1 KilometresFigure 4: Map of landscape types within Local Landscape Designations 23
  • 24. Landscape Character Assessment Rugged Massif Main Types Rugged Moorland Hills Valleys with Forestry Agricultural Heartlands Rugged Mountain Massif Cairngorm Straths Smooth Stepped Moorland Craggy Upland Southern Uplands Foothills Southern Uplands with Scattered Forest Foothills With Forest Sweeping Moorland Forested Glen Upland Forest-Moor Mosaic High Tops Uplands Inland Loch Uplands and Glens Interlocking Sweeping Peaks All Other Categories Lowland Hills Moorland Plateau Moorland Plateaux Moorland Slopes and Hills Open Upland Hills Rounded Hills Rugged Granite Uplands Crown copyright Ordnance Survey. Copyright Scottish Natural Heritage 0 25 50 100 Kilometres Local Authority copyright see Appendix 1Figure 5: Map of Landscape Character areas within Local Landscape Designations7.3 Figure 4 reveals a variety of landscape types present within LLDs, which given thelocal and flexible nature of the designation is hardly surprising. What is surprising is thedominance of agricultural type landscapes (improved pasture (13%), plantation woodland 24
  • 25. (12%), undifferentiated heather moorland (12%) and arable land (7%)) within the overallprofile. The land cover types are further broken down by local authority in Figure 6 and theprofile shows particular biases with respect to arable and built and developed land inparticular local authority areas, further confirming the diversity of landscape type affordedLLD status.7.4 However, the map on Landscape Character Assessment (Figure 5) reveals a clearbias towards more upland/hilly landscapes within LLDs. This is highly significant as itreinforces concerns at the focus of designations more generally towards upland landscapeswith agricultural lowlands, valleys and greenspace surrounding urban areas less influential.It is important to note that coasts appear underrepresented however it should be pointed outthat authorities commonly had developed/undeveloped coast areas within their developmentplans but they were not seen as LLDs. Hence they were excluded. Others 100% Wetland Wet Heather Moor 90% Water Undifferentiated 80% Heather Moor Smooth Grassland +/- Scrub or Bracken Semi-Natural 70% Coniferous Woodland Rush Dominated Grassland Rough 60% Grassland+Peatland Rough Grassland Rock/Cliff 50% Plantation Woodland Peatland+Other 40% Habitats Peatland Other 30% Montane Vegetation Montane and Other 20% Vegetation Mixed Woodland Missing Data 10% Links and Dunes Improved Pasture 0% Heather Sc en i nro Co cil il D t A Cit ou r ba tir C ci l es sh Co ci l La rs Co cil an Co il i n ws C cil th o l hi Co i l C ncil Pe ey shi ou il sg Fi Cou il o il Moor+Peatland & nan e C cil ba rsh Co cil il C ou il Sh ish sh Co il La rks C cil C cil st st shi ou l lk ou l C cil nd rde Cou il So out Isla C cil fr i ai rle sh Co il C gy An e C ncil C ma d B C cil In hla Co il N orth Mo C cil il So h L yrs s C cil C ia lo e C nci Ea Ea ton re C nci Fa ty C nci D allo ile nc rth Isl re nc R Lo re nc c e nc c rk e C nc c c C c c nc c R K ds un th Ay r ay un un S ire un n Ed fre ian oun irk n i r un n n t L ire un ot fre ss un e nEa E nde ay n S an unD om nn ut oun ve nd un et Bo ire un n ck an gu oun H City oun i a un ut h A nd oun ou lin ou M lyd ou O na hir u na hir ou bu hi ou ut ana hir ou u ir u ou Dry Heather Moor o sh Co w a C en t h C n W rton g um h an e rg re s un y y ow fe en ty rs E i i de Ci sh Built-up and rc h ot n rk st as e er n w ig Ab dee id Developed Land G r & la ll u er la la Broadleaved rk G Ab t es h N Ar S tD or Woodland es ArableWFigure 6: Land types broken down by local authority 25
  • 26. Planning background7.5 The planning policy situation facing LLDs is extremely complex and confusing. Localgovernment re-organisation in Scotland in 1996 created 32 unitary authorities but these newauthorities inherited a whole series of structure (formerly county) and local plans (formerlydistrict councils) which together covered their respective areas. Subsequently, they haveembarked on a programme of structure and local plan reviews using these previous localauthority districts as the spatial templates. Consequently, within a given county there can beup to 12 extant local plans that need to be studied, each over different timeframes, each withpossible different terms, policies and approaches towards LLDs. This greatly adds to issuesof consistency and transparency as we try to grasp how a particular council operates. Thesituation, as we understand it, is presented in Table 2. Whilst the structure plan process ismore or less up to date with complete coverage, the local plan situation is extremely variable.North Lanarkshire for example has extant plans dating back to the 1950s and 1960s whichremain the statutory land use planning documents. 26
  • 27. Council Structure Plan SP Stage SP Year Local Plan LP Stage LP YearAberdeen City Council NEST 2001-2016 Approved 2001 The Finalised Aberdeen Local Finalised 2004 PlanAberdeenshire Council NEST 2001-2016 Approved 2001 Finalised Aberdeenshire Local Finalised 2004 PlanAngus Council Dundee and Angus Structure Approved 2002 Finalised Angus Local Plan Finalised 2005 PlanArgyll and Bute Council Argyll and Bute Structure Plan Approved 2002 Argyll and Bute Finalised Draft Draft 2005 Local PlanClackmannanshire Clackmannanshire and Stirling Approved 2002 Clackmannanshire Local Plan Adopted 2004Council Structure PlanDumfries & Galloway Dumfries and Galloway Approved 1999 Finalised Annandale & Public Inquiry 2005Council Structure Plan Eskdale Local PlanDumfries & Galloway Dumfries and Galloway Approved 1999 Finalised Nithsdale Local Plan Public Inquiry 2005Council Structure PlanDumfries & Galloway Dumfries and Galloway Approved 1999 Finalised Stewartry Local Plan Public Inquiry 2005Council Structure PlanDumfries & Galloway Dumfries and Galloway Approved 1999 Finalised Wigtown Local Plan Public Inquiry 2005Council Structure PlanDundee City Council Dundee and Angus Structure Approved 2002 Finalised Dundee Local Plan Post Enquiry 2005 Plan ReviewDundee City Council Dundee and Angus Structure Approved 2002 Dundee Local Plan Adopted 1998 PlanEast Ayrshire Council Ayrshire Joint Structure Plan Approved 2000 East Ayrshire Local Plan Adopted 2003East Dunbartonshire Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 East Dunbartonshire Local Adopted 2005Council Structure Plan PlanEast Lothian Council Edinburgh and The Lothians Approved 2004 Finalised East Lothian Local Public Inquiry 2005 Structure PlanEast Lothian Council Edinburgh and The Lothians Approved 2004 East Lothian Local Adopted 2000 Structure PlanEast Renfrewshire Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 East Renfrewshire Local Plan Adopted 2003Council Structure PlanEdinburgh City Council Edinburgh and The Lothians Approved 2004 Central Edinburgh Local Plan Issues Papers 2005 Structure Plan 27
  • 28. Edinburgh City Council Edinburgh and The Lothians Approved 2004 West Edinburgh Local Draft 2001 Structure Plan Plan(draft)Edinburgh City Council Edinburgh and The Lothians Approved 2004 North East Edinburgh Local Adopted 1998 Structure Plan PlanEdinburgh City Council Edinburgh and The Lothians Approved 2004 South East Edinburgh Local Adopted 1992 Structure Plan PlanEdinburgh City Council Edinburgh and The Lothians Approved 2004 Rural West Edinburgh Local Finalised 2004 Structure Plan PlanFalkirk Council Falkirk Council Structure Plan pre 2005 Finalised Falkirk Council Local Finalised 2005 Approved PlanFife Council Fife Structure Plan Approved 2002 Draft St Andrews and East Fife Draft 2005 Local PlanFife Council Fife Structure Plan Approved 2002 Cupar and Howe of Fife Local Adopted 2003 PlanFife Council Fife Structure Plan Approved 2002 Tay Coast Local Plan Adopted 1998Fife Council Fife Structure Plan Approved 2002 St Andrews Area Local Plan Adopted 1996Fife Council Fife Structure Plan Approved 2002 Largo and East Neuk Local Adopted 1995 PlanFife Council Fife Structure Plan Approved 2002 Levenmouth Area Local Plan Adopted 2004Fife Council Fife Structure Plan Approved 2002 Glenrothes Area Local Plan Adopted 2003Fife Council Fife Structure Plan Approved 2002 Kirkcaldy Area Local Plan Adopted 2003Fife Council Fife Structure Plan Approved 2002 Dunfermline and the Coast Adopted 2002 Local PlanFife Council Fife Structure Plan Approved 2002 Cowdenbeath Area Local Plan Adopted 2003Fife Council Fife Structure Plan Approved 2002 West Villages Local Plan Adopted 2002Glasgow City Council Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Glasgow Adopted City Plan Adopted 2003 Structure PlanHighland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Caithness Adopted 2002Highland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Tongue & Farr Adopted 1995Highland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 North West Sutherland Adopted 1987Highland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 South & East Sutherland Adopted 2000Highland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Ullapool Adopted 1995Highland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Lochbroom Landward Adopted 1999Highland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Applecross, Gairloch & Adopted 1996 Lochcarron 28
  • 29. Highland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Invergordon Inverbreakie Adopted 1994Highland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Easter Ross Adopted 1994Highland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Mid Ross Adopted 1990Highland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 The Black Isle Adopted 1990Highland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Skye & Lochalsh Adopted 1999Highland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Lochaber Adopted 1999Highland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Badenoch and Strathspey Adopted 1997Highland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Nairnshire Adopted 2000Highland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Inverness, Culloden & Adopted 1994 ArdersierHighland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Beauly & District Adopted 1994Highland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Fort Augustus & Adopted 1991 DrumnadrochitHighland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Strathdearn, S/Nairn & Loch Adopted 1997 NessHighland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Wester Ross Replacement Reporters PLI 2005 Local Plan ReportHighland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Ross & Cromarty East Proposed Mods to 2005 Replacement Local Plan Deposit DraftHighland Council The Highland Structure Plan Approved 2001 Inverness Replacement Local Recommendations 2005 Plan to Area & PDET CommitteesInverclyde Council Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Inverclyde Final Draft Local Draft 2002 Structure Plan PlanMidlothian Council Edinburgh and The Lothians Approved 2003 Midlothian Local Plan Adopted 2003 Structure PlanMidlothian Council Edinburgh and The Lothians Approved 2004 Shawfair Local Plan Adopted 2003 Structure PlanMoray Council The Moray Structure Plan Approved 1999 Moray Local Plan Adopted 2000North Ayrshire Council Ayrshire Joint Structure Plan Approved 2000 Finalised Local Plan - North Adopted 2003 AyrshireNorth Ayrshire Council Ayrshire Joint Structure Plan Approved 2000 Isle of Arran Adopted Local Adopted 2005 Plan.North Lanarkshire Council Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Burgh of Motherwell and Adopted 1953 Structure Plan Wishaw Development Plan 29
  • 30. North Lanarkshire Council Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Lanark County Council Adopted 1964 Structure Plan Industrial Area Part Development PlanNorth Lanarkshire Council Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Motherwell Central Adopted 1971 Structure Plan Comprehensive Development Area PlanNorth Lanarkshire Council Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Uddingston/Tannochside Town Adopted 1973 Structure Plan MapNorth Lanarkshire Council Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Shotts Local Plan Adopted 1983 Structure PlanNorth Lanarkshire Council Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Strathkelvin Southern Area Adopted 1983 Structure Plan Local PlanNorth Lanarkshire Council Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Bellshill and Mossend Local Adopted 1983 Structure Plan PlanNorth Lanarkshire Council Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Northern Area Local Plan Adopted 1986 Structure PlanNorth Lanarkshire Council Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Cumbernauld Local Plan Adopted 1993 Structure PlanNorth Lanarkshire Council Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Monklands District Local Plan Adopted 1995 Structure PlanNorth Lanarkshire Council Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Forth and Clyde Local Plan Adopted 1996 Structure PlanNorth Lanarkshire Council Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Kilsyth Local Plan Adopted 1999 Structure PlanNorth Lanarkshire Council Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Northern Corridor Local Plan Draft 2002 Structure PlanNorth Lanarkshire Council Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Southern Area Local Plan Draft 2003 Structure PlanNorth Lanarkshire Council Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 North Lanarkshire Local Plan Draft 2005 Structure PlanOrkney Islands Council Orkney Structure Plan Approved 2001 Finalised Orkney Local Plan Adopted 2003Perth & Kinross Council Perth & Kinross Structure Plan Approved 2004 Eastern Local Plan Adopted 1998Perth & Kinross Council Perth & Kinross Structure Plan Approved 2004 Highland Local Plan Adopted 2000Perth & Kinross Council Perth & Kinross Structure Plan Approved 2004 Kinross Local Plan Adopted 2004Perth & Kinross Council Perth & Kinross Structure Plan Approved 2004 Perth Central Local Plan Adopted 1997Perth & Kinross Council Perth & Kinross Structure Plan Approved 2004 Perth Local Plan Adopted 2000 30
  • 31. Perth & Kinross Council Perth & Kinross Structure Plan Approved 2004 Strathearn Area Local Plan Adopted 2001Renfrewshire Council Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Finalised Renfrewshire Local Finalised 2005 Structure Plan PlanScottish Borders Council Finalised Structure Plan - ‘ Approved 2002 Scottish Borders Local Plan Draft 2004 Scottish Borders – The New Way Forward’Shetland Islands Council The Shetland Structure Plan Approved 2001 The Shetland Local Plan Adopted 2004South Ayrshire Council Ayrshire Joint Structure Plan Approved 2000 South Ayrshire Local Plan Adopted 2002South Lanarkshire Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 East Kilbride and District Local Adopted 2003Council Structure Plan PlanSouth Lanarkshire Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Hamilton District Local Plan Adopted 2000Council Structure PlanSouth Lanarkshire Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Cambuslang/ Rutherglen Local Adopted 2002Council Structure Plan PlanSouth Lanarkshire Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Lower Clydesdale Local Plan Adopted 2004Council Structure PlanSouth Lanarkshire Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Upper Clydesdale Local Plan Adopted 1996Council Structure PlanStirling Council Clackmannanshire and Stirling Approved 2002 Stirling Council Local Plan Adopted 1999 Structure PlanWest Dunbartonshire Glasgow & Clyde Valley Approved 2000 Clydebank Local Plan Adopted 2004Council Structure PlanWest Lothian Council Edinburgh and The Lothians Approved 2004 The Finalised West Lothian Adopted 2005 Structure PlanComhairle nan Eilean Siar Western Ilses structure plan Approved 2003 Barra and Vatersay Local Plan Adopted 1996Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Western Ilses structure plan Approved 2003 Broadbay Local Plan Adopted 2003Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Western Ilses structure plan Approved 2003 Harris Local Plan Adopted 2000Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Western Ilses structure plan Approved 2003 Uist and Benbecula Local Plan Adopted 2000Table 2: Current Development Plan Status 31
  • 32. Nomenclature of LLDs7.6 Table 3 shows the wide range of names given to LLDs. In total some 19 differentterms have been used to describe them with only six of these being used across differentauthorities. By far the most widespread of these are the Historic Gardens and DesignedLandscapes4 (29) and the AGLV designations (16). For the remainder it appears thatauthorities have largely devised their own individual names to suit their local context but, inso doing, have added greatly to potential confusion in public understanding. SNH/HS (2005)guidance recognises this problem and suggests that the significant variation in the termsused for LLDs is problematic. Consequently, they favour the use of one term namely theSpecial Landscape Area (SLA), which is the LLD most commonly encountered in Wales.7.7 When these designations are broken down by local authority, there are someauthorities that have several different LLDs operating within their areas. In some cases thisrelates to historical issues associated with local government re-organisation with theinheritance of several local plans reflecting different districts’ approaches. However, otherauthorities have consciously tried to use LLDs in different ways to achieve developmentcontrol and landscape objectives. For example, Glasgow and Highland Councils have fourLLDs, while Moray, North Ayrshire and West Lothian each have three.4 The Historic Garden and Designed Landscape is a designation which has much clearer identity thanother LLDs. 32
  • 33. Term No.Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes 29Area of Great Landscape Value 16Regional Scenic Area 4Greenspace 3Green Wedges 3Areas of Landscape Significance 2Area of Local Landscape Priority 1Area of Special Landscape Control 1Area of Panoramic Quality 1Scenic Area 1Local Protection Areas 1Sites of Local Landscape Character 1Sensitive Landscape Character Areas 1Remote Landscapes of Value for Recreation 1Sites of Special Landscape Importance 1Area of Landscape Quality 1Sensitive Landscape Area 1Areas of Special Agricultural Importance 1Areas of Special Landscape Control 1Rural Protection Area 1Countryside around towns 1Table 3: Nomenclature of Local Landscape DesignationsRole7.8 In order to clarify the perceived role of LLDs, we used interview data based onplanners’ perceptions supported by documentary evidence contained with the recent SNHconsultation and development plan policies.7.9 The planners’ perceptions were summarised and deconstructed using selectivequotes/extracts where relevant.7.10 The planners’ interviews revealed that LLDs perform essentially six different roles(Table 4). In some local authorities these overlapped, revealing a significant degree of multi-functionality. Furthermore, within local authorities as already recognised, there weresometimes several different LLDs present, potentially each with differing roles, at least intheory. 33
  • 34. Role No.Landscape protection 10Landscape enhancement 6Designation stacking 5Community involvement 3Negotiation 3Rural development 2Table 4: Roles of Local Landscape Designations7.11 Looking at the data from the interviews with planning officers the dominant role wasfor landscape protection where the objective was to ensure that “development was notallowed which could reduce existing rural character or visual quality of landscape”(Inverclyde). However, our interviews did reveal that in some LLDs there was very littlepressure for development. This was specific to the LLD in a particular area. For example,within North Lanarkshire the Regional Scenic Area does not suffer high levels ofdevelopment pressure when compared with the AGLV.7.12 Second, there was recognition of their role as landscape enhancement and designtools (6/17), where the approach was more about “accepting development through improveddesign aspects rather than outright refusal” (Fife).7.13 Third, a role was evident for what has been termed “designation stacking”. This iswhere a given area has several designations (national and local) attached to it whichtogether send an important negative signal to potential developers. This phenomenon wascommonly found in urban authorities where pressures for residential development were attheir greatest and indicated perceived vulnerability, particularly affecting the green beltdesignation. For example, Aberdeen City saw the LLDs as a response to a feeling that areasof Green Belt were vulnerable as they were too large and because they failed to reflect theideas of landscape setting and prevent settlement coalescence. This is interesting in thathere LLDs were being used to strengthen a statutory designation set within a new agenda ofcommunity priorities and sense of place. However, in Edinburgh, while they had several 34
  • 35. designations affecting a particular landscape, they felt that “….each designation was madefor different reasons and therefore would be called upon for different issues in planning anddevelopment control, so consequently there is no conflict or unnecessary duplication”. Thiscontrasted with the more rural areas such as that of North Ayrshire Council for which theoverlapping designations (both LLD and statutory) were considered to be stiflingdevelopment.7.14 Fourth, LLDs were seen by a limited number of authorities as a vehicle for communityinvolvement in landscape management, which reflected the need for local people to beactively involved in the designation process itself. Here the local authority acted as afacilitator rather than imposer. The case of Shetland is particularly interesting; followingextensive public involvement exercises some 73 areas were identified by the localcommunity as worthy of protection: “….the justification is that these areas are not protectedby statutory designation but regarded by [the] local community as worthy of protection(wildlife, wild flowers, open space, local historic interest)” (Shetland). Planning for Real typeworkshops had to be used specifically for this purpose. It is noteworthy that only inAberdeen City as part of the Green Space network plan for Areas of Landscape Significancehad any such targeted consultation occurred.7.15 Fifth, LLDs were seen as negotiation tools where local authorities saw their principaluse as a means to get developers to come to the table to modify or relocate proposals withininformal discussions. In this situation their key strength was the flexibility to get developersto refine or modify proposals including withdrawal: “…it provides the council with a good basefor negotiations based on landscape studies that have been done by the structure plan” (EastAyrshire). The examples we uncovered showed the importance of informal negotiationswhich by their very nature lay outside the formal planning system. This is an area ofsignificant research potential. 35
  • 36. 7.16 The final role of LLDs was more aspirational in nature and confined to two authoritieswho saw the potential for LLDs to act as positive tools for rural development. Here, the aimwas to reverse the more negative assumptions associated with designations by using themin a more celebratory aspect, perhaps to secure funds for rural tourism initiatives andprojects and to maximise economic benefits.7.17 When comparing the stated/recorded officer responses to roles of LLDs to the agreedpolicies towards LLDs some interesting issues arise. Not surprisingly most roles wereexplicit in policy albeit with the exception of the negotiation and rural development roles.7.18 By far the greatest policy focus was on the more protective policies. Quite often LLDswere mentioned in policies associated with other national landscape designations. Forexample Aberdeenshire’s local plan policy (ENV5) draws heavily on maintaining sense ofplace and identity where: Development within or adjacent to a National Scenic Area or Area of Landscape Significance will not be permitted where its scale, location or design will detract from the quality or character of the landscape, either in part or as a whole….In all cases the highest standards of design, in terms of location, scale, siting, aesthetics and landscaping, will be required within National Scenic Areas and Areas of Landscape Significance.7.19 Edinburgh South East local plan policy GE5 provides a more succinct definitionfocusing on protecting the interest and qualities that led to the designation: In the Area of Great Landscape Value as shown on the Proposals Map, permission will not be granted for development which would materially detract from the intrinsic scenic interest and qualities of the landscape.7.20 This issue of protection is given some pragmatic context in the plan for Perth andKinross (Policy 12), where the concept of “operational need” is used to clarify when LLDmight be overridden. In such aspects here it is interesting to compare this with the Silkin testfor national parks (England and Wales only) where, surprisingly, there is little differenceapparent. 36
  • 37. 7.21 Fife Council (Coupar and Howe of Fife) local plan policy (COU 4) provides a goodexample of the landscape enhancement function: Within an AGLV, development which is supported under other policies in this Local Plan must maintain or enhance the character of the landscape through the highest standards of design and finish.7.22 Glasgow’s local plan policy (ENV8) favours this approach too, but with added criteriato guide acceptable development and aftercare aspects. There will be a presumption against any development likely to have an adverse effect on the integrity or character of a SSLI. Notwithstanding the above, when proposals come forward within any SSLI they will only be considered favourably provided they meet all the following criteria: (i) development proposals should be consistent with the Plan’s other development policies and environmental policy designations; (ii) development proposals must be of a high quality design and include associated landscape works appropriate to the character of the surrounding area and in scale with the development; (iii) proposals must include details of methods to be adopted, including legal agreements etc., to guarantee future maintenance arrangements; and (iv) proposals must be shown in the context of the SSLI and demonstrate that they enhance established landscape character and visual amenity.7.23 Other authorities, as in the case of East Ayrshire’s local plan policy (ENV 11), containelements of both protective and enhancement roles within the same policy. Within the Sensitive Landscape Character Areas identified on the Local Plan maps, the Council will give priority and prime consideration to the protection and enhancement of the landscape in the consideration of rural development proposals. The Council will not be supportive of development which would create unacceptable visual intrusion or irreparable damage within these areas and will be supportive of development proposals only where these positively enhance or protect the natural landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area or promote the social and economic well-being of communities.7.24 The community involvement role is well illustrated in Shetland Council’s local planpolicy (NE11) which states: Where an area has been identified (community led through planning for real exercises) on the Map as a Local Protection Area, only applications for the development of facilities, which benefit the community as a whole, will be considered. 37
  • 38. 7.25 Within the Western Isles policy (RM10) there is potential to create LLDs or anydesignation that comes from the community themselves. Consequently, they will becomepurely reactive designations driven by the local community for the local community. Herethen the policy could be described as prospective rather than an explicit policy that seeks topromote LLDs in any substantive way as was the case in Shetland and Aberdeenshire.7.26 These different roles as stated in policy terms are interesting when compared againstcontemporary planning policies for the wider countryside which commonly have a range ofcriteria to ensure appropriate types of development as well as endorsing the generallyaccepted principle of restraint in the countryside. Inverclyde’s policy (DS9) is typical andextremely protective in outlook. Development within the countryside will be permitted only where it can be supported with reference to the following criteria: (a) it is required for the purpose of agriculture and forestry; (b) it is a recreation, leisure or tourism proposal which is appropriate for the countryside and contributes to the social and economic development of the area; (c) there is a specific locational requirement for the use and it cannot be accommodated on an alternative site; (d) it entails appropriate re-use of traditional and/or vacant buildings which it would be desirable to retain for their historic or architectural character; or (e) it forms part of an establishment or institution standing in extensive grounds; and (f) it does not adversely impact on the landscape character; (g) it does not adversely impact on the natural heritage resource; (h) there is a need for additional land for development purposes, provided it takes account of the requirements of the Structure Plan and; (i) it complies with other relevant Local Plan policies.7.27 Such policies, at face value, raise important questions as to the validity andadditionality of LLDs, if these criteria are used consistently. This argument is particularlyvalid in the case of Highland Council. Policy 2.1 of the Highland’s Council Wester RossLocal Plan (Deposit draft with modifications) defines AGLV designations as of local/regionalimportance and developments will therefore be allowed if there is no unacceptable impact. In areas of low sensitivity we will assess developments for their effects on any relevant interests. We will allow them if we believe that they will not have an unreasonable effect, particularly where it can be shown that it will support communities in fragile areas who are having difficulties in keeping their population and services. 38
  • 39. 7.28 Midlothian Council (Shawfair) local plan policy (RP7) reflects some authorities’changing positions on the value of LLDs where they have favoured a landscape characterroute. Development will not be permitted where it may adversely affect the quality of the local landscape. Where development is acceptable it shall respect the local landscape character and contribute towards its maintenance and enhancement. New developments shall incorporate proposals to: A. maintain the local diversity and distinctiveness of landscape character including natural and built heritage features of landscape value such as woodland, hedges, ponds, stone walls and historical sites; and B. enhance landscape characteristics where they have been weakened and need improvement.Designation issues7.29 Given the extent of LLDs across Scotland, issues to do with the process and rigour ofdesignation are important, as reflected in the initial guidance by the Scottish Office in the1960s. However, the methods and approaches used to define LLDs, past, present andfuture reveal clear differences with respect to transparency, policy guidance and rigour thatseriously challenge their credibility and utility at least within a historical perspective (Table 5).Approach Original Present/ProposedUnknown 9 2Internal method 5 5External consultants 0 6Landscape Character 0 8*AssessmentUse previous boundaries as - 5defaults for new plansNo LLDs - 9Table 5: Approaches to LLD designation7.30 Looking at the original LLDs designated during the 1960s, it is clear that most werepreviously designated on criteria that were unclear or unknown. Many officers merelyaccepted these “inherited” designations which were carried forward into development plans,without any review or modification, on the basis that they “seemed to be working”. 39
  • 40. Undoubtedly, local government re-organisations in 1973 and 1996 had led to loss of recordsand key staff, but the presumptions of value and success were quite surprising. Indeed,many officers recognised this inheritance as a fundamental weakness when using LLDs inplanning casework or at public inquiry. In such instances officers preferred to use theLandscape Character Assessment to defend an application. In Aberdeen City thedevelopment of a Landscape Strategy has also helped justify the importance of areas underplanning threat.7.31 For many local authorities they still have to use extant planning policies andsubsequent designations inherited from as far back as the 1950s and 60s without thenecessary resources to undertake any systematic review, apart from the most basic internalassessment as part of the development plan process (Table 5).7.32 Turning to the contemporary situation, there is considerable variety in the approachesbeing adopted and the appearance of external consultants indicates that authorities areincreasingly trying out their own approaches and methodologies for LLD, although this is onan ad hoc basis. Furthermore, the national coverage of landscape character assessment byScottish Natural Heritage has been used by local authorities and external consultants as abaseline on which to append more sophisticated landscape assessments which couldsupport or replace LLDs.7.33 Increasingly, capacity studies primarily for settlement expansion and wind farmdevelopments have been undertaken (Fife Council, 2004). These studies are proactive andidentify developments that are likely to contribute to the character and creative developmentof the settlement whilst those characteristics of the existing landscape which contribute to thesetting, character and quality of the environment of the settlement are maintained (Box 3).Landscape capacity assessment also helps identify where and why development would bevisually intrusive in the landscape, or detrimental to significant landscape characteristics, the 40
  • 41. scenic quality or the distinctive attributes of the existing settlement. They are, however,currently directed towards sectoral topics and conceptual work would be required to enablethe linkage of such studies for the same geographical area. 41
  • 42. Impacts Table: Cupar East Small Fields Undulating Strath North Facing SlopesLandscape Neutral Negative NegativeCharacter Although development is likely to be The rural character and scenic quality Development here would impact onand Scenic limited by potential flood risk, these of this landscape would be enclosing and containing slopes whichQuality enclosed fields are well contained while compromised by development. define the extent of Cupar to the south, still being close to the town centre. In addition, this area is perceptually although the area is not of a The intimate character lends itself to very detached from Cupar. particularly high scenic quality. development within woodland which The exception is Baless Hill which The exception is the contained filed in will further enhance the sense of forms a self contained hill with well front of Tarvt Farm steading which enclosure. defined edges. could be developed if the design Development here would require featured the farm as the dominant earthmoving, which would be design feature and respected its intrusive, and would require planting to prominence. enhance setting.Settlement Neutral Negative NegativeForm Development would be within the Development would elongate the Development extending significantly compact form of the settlement, settlement considerably and extend it up these slopes would elongate the although the perception of seclusion away from the historic core: settlement form and significantly means that this area feels detached development over much of this area compromise the robust relationship from the settlement core despite the would be detached from Cupar. between the settlement and low lying relative physical proximity. The exception would be Balass Hill, land. which offers the opportunity for The exception is the field at Tarvit development while maintaining the Farm steading which is related to low compact settlement form. lying land.Landscape Neutral Negative NegativeSetting Development here would relate to a Development would impact on the These slopes are an extension of the low lying and contained area and would scenic quality of the wider setting of enclosing slopes and highly visible not impinge on the areas of higher Cupar: the sculptural undulations are rural backdrop along the southern edge scenic quality surrounding Cupar, or particularly susceptible to of Cupar. the hills which provide the backdrop. development.Sense of Neutral Neutral NegativeArrival The present existing sense of arrival is The existing sense of arrival is The existing sense of arrival is particularly robust, although there are particularly robust, although there are particularly robust and would be other opportunities along the B940 to other opportunities along the B940 to compromised by extending define an equally significant sense of define an equally significant sense of development across these slopes arrival. arrival, notable Balass Den. adjacent to the approach roads. The field at Tarvit Farm does not impinge on arrival.Settlement Neutral Neutral NegativeEdge The existing settlement edge relates to The robust settlement edge, reinforced Development would impact upon the the park and River Eden, but equally by the high wall of Tarvit farm would enclosing slopes which contain he robust alternatives are available, be lost if development extended settlement and define its distinct including the railway and the road. eastwards, but the road itself and relationship with the lying valley. Balass Den provided robust The exception is the field at Tarvit alternatives. Farm steading which is related to low lying land.Views and Neutral Neutral NegativeVisual Development here would be well Much of the strath is highly visible Development along these slopes wouldFeatures related to lower land but highly visible from elevated viewpoints, but it is all be highly visible and reduce the visual along the roadside of the B940. low lying and therefore visually linked evidence of a compact settlement to existing settlement location. Balass focused on low lying ground, as well as Hill, although not high, is relatively visually intruding onto the backdrop of prominent. Cupar.Box 3: Extract from Cupar Capacity study (Fife Council (204: 33)7.34 Many planners see capacity studies as giving them greater confidence to defend theirdesignation/policies when called upon to do so. This was particularly evident withcontemporary pressures for wind farm developments. 42
  • 43. 7.35 Table 5 reveals six authorities who currently do not use LLDs (practical rather thanstatutory given extant policies) and three further authorities who have decided not to use anyLLDs in the future. Instead, assessments of landscape character/capacity will be used toprotect and enhance landscape management with only statutory national landscapedesignations in operation. In this context supplementary studies of landscape and settlementcapacity have become the new tools (Supplementary Planning Guidance) to guide futuredevelopment.Assessment7.36 The interviews and documentary evidence from SNH consultations revealed positiveand negative arguments advanced towards the current operation of LLDs. Significantly, noclear consensus emerged across the authorities as to their overall value and future, which initself poses something of a problem. This was reinforced by the different policy shifts inevidence with authorities maintaining the status quo, re-defining or abandoning LLDs.However, all of this activity was based, for the most part, on inadequate presumptions of theirperformance. The positive and negative points raised are summarised and explained in turn.7.37 A summary of the strengths is presented in Table 6:Strengths N %Extra defence vs. development 21 33%Flexible local tool 8 13%Improve decision making 7 11%Design tool 2 3%Clarity 4 6%Support national policy 1 2%Identify/protect best 8 13%landscapesImprove 5 8%understanding/awarenessPromote tourism 1 2%No strengths 6 9%Total references to 63 100%strengthsTable 6: Strengths of LLDs (planning interviews (2005) and SNH consultationresponses (2004)) 43
  • 44. 7.38 Defence (i.e. of authority positions) and protective functions clearly dominated theprofile of responses (33%). Here, authorities valued LLDs as a particularly useful means ofprotecting sensitive landscapes. As the following quote indicates, they were seen as anadditional ‘comfort factor’ where that extra protection was a valuable tool when developmentsthreatened. “Provides another layer of protection. Enforcing the power to protect certain areas. Gives comfort; it is better to have them rather than to lose them”.7.39 A similar theme is detectable in Aberdeenshire where there was an implicitassumption that “it is a reasonable designation perceived to be accepted and respected bydevelopers”. In this case the protective function was seen to be successful in divertingdevelopments away from the areas concerned.7.40 In several urban authorities there was concern that the maintenance and protection ofsense of place was not adequately provided for in any statutory designations. In particular,the green belt was seen as a negative landscape management tool and LLDs had a valuableand unique role to play in helping protect the sense of place in a more positive manner. Anexample of an objection of AGLV designation in Edinburgh provides a useful case in point: That leaves the effect on landscape setting. As was apparent from our site visit, the site makes a significant contribution to the green belt because of its location next to the Hermitage of Braid and the foot of Blackford Hill. We agree with CEC and many of those who support retention of the site in the green belt that the site has the effect of extending the countryside into the city, forming a transition between Blackford Hill and the residential areas of Midmar Drive and Hermitage Drive. The landscape and topography in this area are of considerable visual interest, consisting of the wooded Hermitage of Braid, linking, in a single unbroken vista, through the Midmar Drive paddock to the backdrop of Blackford Hill. The 2 copses of mature trees also materially help the character and landscape of the locality. Given these factors, we find that the site makes a significant contribution to the landscape setting of the city, and we have concerns that development for housing, or possibly as a caravan park, would have a significantly adverse effect” (South Edinburgh Local Plan Inquiry: 2003 5.5)7.41 The value of LLDs as a flexible tool applicable locally (a point made by 13% ofplanning respondents) is well demonstrated in the following excerpts which show subtle, 44
  • 45. imaginative and individual variations in the way the LLD tool was used and perceived by keyauthorities.7.42 In Orkney the AGLVs and the Areas of Local Landscape Character were reported asbeing effective “because of the way that they tended to build development around them, inthem, rather than object to it”. In Shetland, they “are locally agreed and not centrallyimposed”, while for Dumfries, “they play an important role in control of development in areasof local distinctiveness that would not meet the definition of a statutory designation”. In Fifethe view was that LLDs provided the “linking from a planning tool to a wider context ofproactive input into countryside management approaches across a wider range of policysectors” whilst in Highland it was felt that the “National Scenic Areas were biased towardscertain types of landscapes so the AGLVs could be used to redress this imbalance”.7.43 The table also reveals the importance of LLDs as a tool for protecting the most valuedlandscapes (13%). Here, there was an implicit assumption underlying many responses thatthe rest of the countryside was somehow vulnerable to economic development and whilstthere were general policies commanding restraint in the wider countryside they were rarelyable to compete with the economic and social imperatives.7.44 Closely associated with this was this notion of security, where a line drawn round amap made it easier for landscape arguments to be upheld in development control decisionmaking (11%). This is an important consideration given the widespread perception that localauthority committees were not particularly sensitive to landscape issues except for thoseareas which were clearly delineated. So, a line drawn on a map actually meant something.Within the wider countryside, however, the landscape argument would carry less weightsimply because there was no line. This then plcwes a crucial question over where and howthe line is drawn. 45
  • 46. 7.45 It is interesting to note how few responses drew attention to the accolade role forLLDs as tools for rural development and social capacity building. This is seen as a keyaspect of the SNH/HS guidance (2005) but clearly has yet to be fully appreciated andoperationalised.Weaknesses7.46 This section of the report starts with a general discussion of several strategiclandscape concerns affecting Scotland which have significant implications for the effectiveuse and acceptability of LLDs as planning tools.7.47 The first crucial point arising from the interviews was a widespread and generalconcern regarding the lack of priority given to landscape matters in Council decision making,particularly when faced with competing priorities such as economic development. Forexample, in the Western Isles it was accepted that economic development priorities shapedthe pragmatic approach that had to be taken towards landscape matters which were moreabout mitigation and enhancement rather than refusal. Similar views were encountered inNorth Lanarkshire, Highland, Renfrewshire and Aberdeenshire.7.48 Many authorities commented on the lack of resources for developing/reviewing alandscape strategy or for progressing the Landscape Character Assessment approach,which was felt to be too descriptive to aid their specific landscape evaluation requirements.Renfrewshire provides a good illustration of this as currently they do not possess alandscape strategy, yet they have a nature conservation strategy with widespread use oflocal Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCS). Here it was believed that theresulting designation methods and criteria gave a degree of confidence to their use andacceptability as planning tools in a way that landscape considerations currently do not. Thisgap between landscape and nature conservation is illuminating in that the “science” of natureconservation appears much more developed and acceptable than that of landscape. 46
  • 47. 7.49 In several authorities a powerful critique was made over the way elected memberswere less likely to take a strategic overview towards landscape considerations simplybecause they tended to be too tied into their local situation.7.50 There was also a strong theme emerging from the perceived urban discriminationsuffered by the current operation of landscape designations more generally. Both NorthLanarkshire and Aberdeen City presented strong arguments lamenting how landscapedesignations protected large tracts of remote rural landscape and, by so doing, allowedurban landscapes to be eroded, despite the fact that most people’s experience of landscapeon a daily basis was in those local landscapes. Their perceptions were that theseimbalances had not been adequately recognised in LLDs or planning policy to date. Thiswas further complicated by the widespread view that the Green Belt designation was notseen as a landscape designation and therefore needed re-inventing quite often through theuse of LLDs, although recent progress on the greenspace initiative was seen as welcome.7.51 Many of these arguments can be logically extended into wider criticism at the lack ofguidance from SNH about improved methods, tools and criteria for valuing landscapes. Thissuggests that the landscape agenda in Scotland needs substantial re-invigoration at all levelsif it is to be given the prominence that it requires. The current failure of the UK governmentto sign up to the European Landscape Convention is a clear symptom of this problem whichis not just confined to Scotland.7.52 Turning to LLDs specifically, a summary of the weaknesses is presented in table 7: 47
  • 48. Weakness No %Weak designation process 10 17%Inconsistencies between authorities 6 10%Devalue wider landscape 4 7%Too broad & widespread 7 12%Countryside policy is sufficient 2 3%Ineffective tools 19 31%Not understood, not known 8 13%Lack of resources, difficult to manage 4 7%Total references to weaknesses 60 100%Table 7: Weaknesses of the LLD (planning interviews (2005) and SNH consultationresponses (2004))7.53 The most commonly cited weakness was their perceived ineffectiveness (31%), inpart reflecting the more general concern reported above with the inadequate way landscapematters were treated and the overall lack of impact of LLDs in development control matters.In North Lanarkshire, for example, there was concern at the way, over time, piecemealhousing development in the AGLV had eroded the very landscape qualities that had led to itsdesignation. Here the issue of precedence was seen as a problem in preventing furtherencroachments.7.54 In particular, issues surrounding the process of the original LLD designation attracteda further 17% of responses which, as previously stated, led to perceived shortfalls in theiroverall credibility and legitimacy as defendable planning tools. Lack of rigour in boundaryselection had also led to some nonsensical LLDs covering built development and housingestates, as in the case of Aberdeenshire. Even with this knowledge there had been noboundary amendments to expel these anomalies due to resource constraints.7.55 The lack of awareness of LLDs amongst developers and the general public (13%)was a significant concern of officers. Responses were encountered that acknowledged thatpeople did not know about LLDs in their area and that the public had rarely made anycomments or objections to them. We can even report that in some planning authorities theplanners themselves were unaware of the designations that were LLDs! 48
  • 49. 7.56 Boundary issues were also crucial in revealing the universal lack of co-operation withneighbouring authorities on LLD designation and operationalisation. Undoubtedly this hasled to an ad hoc, inconsistent and fragmented approach where strategic landscapemanagement was conspicuous by its absence (10%). Here the “borrowed landscapes” issuewas seen as particularly significant as some developments in a neighbouring authority wouldhave an impact across the border. Our findings revealed that only on matters such asregional parks and green belts were there any strategic partnerships and formal consultationprotocols. This is a point echoed in Shetland, where the benefits of local community action inselecting the designations has a downside in that the 73 areas identified are very small withall the resulting problems of dealing with wider landscape issues.7.57 The issue of their extensive national coverage was also seen as a weakness (12%).Some local authority planners make the point that if designation becomes a ubiquitous tool,all designations ultimately become irrelevant and you lose the advantage of such planningtools in the first place. Their ultimate survival actually depends on a form of elitism: There is a danger of designating everything, and this would lead to a devaluation of designations.7.58 This critique ties in with an interrelated idea that such designations have negativeimpacts on the wider countryside itself, as those areas left undesignated were seen asessentially “green lights” for development activity.7.59 In Glasgow a more fundamental challenge was issued reflecting the emerging tensionof landscape character assessment versus the need for landscape designations: “Why do weneed LLDs when we have Landscape Character Assessment?” Conversely, other plannerswere far more cautious and concerned about the loss of LLDs, even when their own authorityhad actually decided to abandon them apparently without such information beingcommunicated. 49
  • 50. 7.60 The lack of consensus over the role and value of the local designation is interestingand suggests that at present landscape policy is something of a political football: can we lookto the recent SNH/HS guidance and see a way of sharpening up the LLD tool, or has it nowoutlived its usefulness? 50
  • 51. 8 Discussion8.1 Current national planning policy guidance, as evidenced through PAN 60 alongsideother stakeholder agency views with respect to use of LLDs in Scotland, tries to engender amore positive and strategic role for LLDs, mindful that they should not prevent and restrictdevelopment (Scottish Executive, 2005). The research findings reported here reveal variableefforts to achieve this in practice. The lack of positive or strategic considerations indevelopment plan policies was of concern given the near completion of the current round oflocal plan preparation. The lack of consistency and overall justification with regard to LLDdesignation, use and evaluation seriously questions any re-invention of the LLD in line withPAN 60 statements. More worryingly, there was a pragmatic and localised agenda inevidence which suggested that LLDs were being used as a check against unrestrainedpressures for development in sensitive areas of countryside as oppose to landscapeenhancement roles.8.2 Within local authorities themselves, the amount of negative criticism directed at LLDsgained from the interviews and documentary evidence does challenge any automaticassumption for their continued existence in their present form. Consequently, it seemssomewhat surprising that the recent SNH/HS guidance (2005) does not discuss thesenegative concerns in more detail, particularly given the significant resourcing and awarenessraising issues required to make LLDs work in line with their proposals. Furthermore, all thishas to be set against a landscape agenda in Scotland which has taken something of a backseat in policy debates and deliberations over recent years.8.3 Indeed, this research in Scotland uniquely picked up on the wider theme of neglect oflandscape matters with particular ramifications for the way LLDs have been operationalised,and perhaps begins to explain their somewhat idiosyncratic presence in the armoury ofplanning departments. At the heart of this lies the question of how much priority landscape 51
  • 52. matters are currently given in the Scottish planning system? We encountered real concernthat the landscape agenda in Scotland has been derailed and is in urgent need ofrevitalisation; its absence from the recent planning white paper fuels our concern. Notably inWales, LANDMAP has provided a new framework for landscape assessment and evaluationthat is currently absent in Scotland. A common theme in the interviews was the hope thatSNH would provide a more useful landscape tool that would address the vexed issue oflandscape value (Scott, 2003). Currently, landscape arguments tend to carry little weight indevelopment control casework as these analytical frameworks are missing. The recentpublications of capacity studies are an important exception here, but currently only two ofthese are in the public domain and their overall utility remains untested.8.4 The case of Renfrewshire illuminates this problem starkly. Their planning committeehave strong political support for SINCS, a local nature conservation designation abundantthroughout the authority area which have been designated based on site research withrobust criteria and principles for site inclusion. Indeed, these designations were seen as keymechanisms for delivering landscape objectives indirectly through nature conservationpolicy. Whilst this is a useful by-product of the SINC designation, the wider reluctance toembrace and grasp landscape issues more directly is a serious concern. This is all the morerevealing when the number of local authorities with landscape architects is surprisingly low.At this juncture it is important to note the differing historical and legislative contexts for natureconservation which benefits from the Nature Conservation Act biodiversity duty and thechampioning of nature conservation activities by NGOs. Landscape has yet to capture thepolicy and public attention.8.5 This context is important in helping to explain why most authorities saw thesedesignations as fulfilling an additional, protective, role. There was clear evidence that thedesignation did serve a valuable purpose as an additional layer to protect countryside,seemingly under continuous threat of further development. The power and simplicity of a line 52
  • 53. on a map with its associated policy constraint was seen as a major factor which could helpresist development pressure and simplify decision making for planning committees in suchareas. Implicit within our discussions with planning officers was the perception that policiesfor the wider countryside were not being successfully operated. Reasons for this werecomplex, but it was clear that the methods and tools available for landscape assessment andevaluation were not that widespread in local authorities and compared unfavourably withthose for nature conservation. Furthermore, the political dimension had a crucial bearing ondecisions affecting landscape matters. Elected officials had to balance competing prioritieswhen any development was proposed, and it was clear that economic and social prioritiescould easily overwhelm objections on landscape grounds alone. Consequently, a line on amap was seen as a strong symbol which everybody could understand. Assessing the LLDsoutside this institutional context is artificial and misleading, and it is clear that planners andSNH staff supporting LLDs see the designation as a pragmatic response to the realities andpolitics of contemporary town and country planning. Other studies have clearly highlighted apolitical dimension but there is a wider question of whether it is the designation per se thathas any material effect on the types of decision taken or the planning committee (Scott andBullen, 2004).8.6 However, this study also found evidence that LLDs were perceived as weak, whichchallenged any simple validation of their role as landscape protectors. In such respects, theoften expressed view that the designation process itself was devaluing the very landscapesthey were seeking to protect was an important consideration. LLDs cover extensive areas ofScotland (Figure 2) and this coverage tends to reduce the effectiveness of the term“special”, although this figure is due to fall given the current round of local plan formulation.8.7 What remains untested and critical is the extent to which such designations areeffective and actually divert developers away from submitting proposals in particular areas.This effect is unclear and under-researched, and our current evidence is purely anecdotal, 53
  • 54. but some authorities certainly believed that there was a disincentive effect. The next phaseof LLD research (subject to funding) will interview developers to uncover the extent of thisdisincentive effect, as well as the extent to which informal discussions, at the inception ofplanning ideas, play a role in mediating or deflecting unsuitable developments elsewhere.8.8 The other roles identified for LLD: landscape enhancement, negotiation, social andeconomic development, were more in keeping with the spirit of national guidance but wereless in evidence in planning practice. Certainly there was evidence of them being used toimpose planning conditions on a whole suite of applications but this was quite oftencontextualised within the theme of mitigation rather than landscape enhancement. This isproblematic as enhancement by its very nature could impose extra costs on a developer whowould then likely appeal, with a good chance of success. North Lanarkshire provides anexample of an application for a medieval park attraction through which landscapingconditions played a key role in securing landscape mitigation. However, the extent to whichwider countryside policies could achieve identical goals is applicable here.8.9 All this suggests that national guidance needs to be more forthcoming about how themore positive roles can be achieved as opposed to the observed negative roles. Re-conceptualising them as potential tools for economic and social development does, on theface of it, represent an excellent idea which has only really captured the imagination of threeauthorities to date, and significantly all have had problems with their operationalisation.Clearly, suiting and adapting this to local circumstances is a key consideration.8.10 Indeed, it is the issue of flexibility which was seen by planners as a key strength ofthe designation. Planners in Edinburgh made a strong argument that as long asdesignations had a well defined purpose at a local level, there could be a range developed tosuit local circumstances, each having their own unique and collective contribution to make indevelopment control matters. 54
  • 55. SNH/HS guidance8.11 It is clear from our discussions that the current round of SNH consultations onlandscape led to raised expectations within local authorities. There was a clear groundswellof opinion from planners and landscape officers for improved tools for landscape evaluationand assessment that could be applied to the planning process to improve issues ofconsistency, transparency and strategic planning as well as raise the profile of landscapemore generally. The SNH/HS (2005) guidance, in our view, never set out to deliver this,focussing as it does on LLD processes but there is a clear conceptual gap in landscapematters that does need addressing urgently. However, the guidance for LLDs does impose asignificant burden on local authorities as they have to develop their own evaluationframeworks with variable skills and available resources in landscape analysis and evaluationacross Scottish local authorities.8.12 In its defence, the guidance does make clear reference to the kind of criteria thatcould be used in LLD designation and that it must stand up to close inspection under crossexamination. It also lays out guidelines for regular boundary reviews and communityconsultation. Our findings showed that such processes were largely absent and suggest thatthere is considerable work to do, especially with regard to the more strategic considerationsof cross boundary working.8.13 Perhaps most interesting, in the context of the SNH/HS (2005) guidance was thefocus on the protective and enhancement role of LLDs through their interrelated componentsas accolades, policy and management tools. At present it is clear that authorities operatethis in an ad hoc and inconsistent way, adopting all or part of these components according totheir situation, although the accolade element was rarely encountered. However, if all LLDshad to address all these roles explicitly there might be a more “joined-up” and positive 55
  • 56. approach to their use, and management which in itself would help distinguish them fromother designations and meet PAN 60 guidelines. In particular, the more positive aspects ofthe designation as an economic and social development tool could appeal to the economicand community development departments, thereby improving intra-authority working andsynergies. If this approach were then directly linked to policies in development plans andresulting management practices through conditions and/or management plans/agreements,some elements of additionality would begin to emerge.8.14 However, this reveals the classic dilemma which is well exposed in the case ofAberdeen City. Here they have proposed Areas of Landscape Significance an LLDencapsulating this more joined-up approach to the designation as well as innovativeapproaches towards its positive management. In theory, these areas are to be defined bythe local community based on attachment and sense of place within the existing GreenSpace network designation and then, by using Section 75 agreements resulting from nearbydevelopments, provide a fund for positive landscape enhancement schemes. Unfortunatelythe scheme has not yet been implemented due to delays in local plan delivery and lack ofresources (physical and human). It is this lack of resources that has stifled the translation ofinnovative thinking into planning practice and frozen some authorities into merely carryingover existing designations and policy in previous plans as a quick, cheap and efficient fix.This is a pragmatic and understandable response but it fails to address the changing natureand significant resource implications of a new landscape agenda. It does point out the needto fund such projects, particularly if they can be used as models of good practice.8.15 However, the absence of evaluation mechanisms makes it somewhat problematic topresume that all these roles can only be met, and indeed are best met, through thedesignation label. For example, wider countryside policy based on a range of criteria, asevidenced in Inverclyde’s planning policy, might achieve the same outcome as anydesignation, a hypothesis which again is to be subjected to further research. Issues to do 56
  • 57. with community development implying a wider economic and social development role werepoorly represented in contemporary planning practice, yet seen as important in the SNH/HS(2005) guidance. Only by taking a more innovative approach, backed up with the necessaryresources, can these goals be realised. In the few authorities where this had occurred,problems of resources (Aberdeenshire) and lack of strategic management (73 separateareas designated in Shetland) showed the need for wider support and advice.8.16 In the guidance, LLDs are seen to have a useful role to play in landscape protectionand enhancement and their continued existence is supported without question. In theauthors’ view this is where the guidance fails to acknowledge the current lack of credibilityregarding landscape matters more generally across Scotland. Whilst there is clear steer onthe kinds of criteria and processes that can be used, there is little on the mechanisms to dothis or recognition of the considerable resource implications and education necessary toallow more informed landscape considerations to occur. The transaction costs of revitalisingthe landscape agenda in Scotland are seen as high and do need to be acknowledged.8.17 The findings from Scotland reported here mirror those by Scott and Bullen (2004) intheir work in Wales. Together they present a compelling case for a thorough review of LLDsbased on evidence of policy (presented in this report) and practice (only addressed throughplanning officer perceptions and not development control analyses). This is where furtherresearch is planned that looks at development control casework, past and present, to gaugehow far the tool delivers what its protagonists claim. 57
  • 58. 9 Conclusions and Further Research9.1 The primary conclusions emerging from this report are listed below in bullet point formso as to provide a concise summary. They have been broken down into general, strategiclandscape and LLD considerations.General9.2 In general the findings in Scotland replicate those encountered in Wales, confirmingthat LLDs are somewhat schizophrenic characters in the planning system. The researchneither refutes nor confirms their value as planning tools and indeed raises more questionsthan answers both at strategic and local levels.9.3 In many ways their different nomenclature, combined with lack of priority, overallunderstanding and resources devoted towards them, means that they are not receivingsufficient attention to maximise their potential.Strategic Landscape considerations9.4 Landscape issues in Scotland are in need of urgent re-energisation. Currentlydevelopment control decisions lack suitable landscape evaluation tools to raise the profile oflandscape matters and consequently they tend to be outweighed by economic, social andnature conservation arguments.9.5 National guidance is urgently needed to provide a consistent framework for landscapeconsiderations in planning matters. Whilst the policies might be well conceived, theirimplementation is currently problematic.9.6 Such a landscape agenda demands increased resources and training. In particular thecurrent LCA guidance needs updating. 58
  • 59. Local Landscape Considerations9.7 There is no clear consensus over the value and efficacy of LLDs. Currently there is anad hoc approach within authorities which reflects contrasting attitudes: maintaining the statusquo, reviewing boundaries, developing new LLDs, or abandoning them.9.8 LLDs are a flexible tool with a wide range of potential and actual uses across bothurban and rural contexts. However, the extent to which any additionality, over and above thewider countryside policies, might be provided is debatable and needs further research.9.9 LLDs are subject to significant local authority insularity with a clear reluctance toconsider their boundaries across authorities and to engage in partnership working to improvelandscape coherence and planning at more strategic levels.9.10 LLDs are primarily seen as control mechanisms rather than positive mechanisms withinthe planning process. A possible re-focus on more positive aspects might be one way toensure additionality.9.11 LLDs are seen as one way to address the problems inherent in par 9.2. Here their roleas protective blankets implicitly acknowledges that the current policies of restraint for thewider countryside are not working.9.12 There is extremely limited evidence that LLDs have any specific communityinvolvement or consultation other than normal statutory development plan considerations.Given their local imperative this does seem a missed opportunity and the Local NatureReserve concept offers a useful model. 59
  • 60. 9.13 Many LLDs boundaries and existence are rooted in historical uncertainty which limitstheir current credibility and accountability. It is therefore important that the boundaries arereviewed using effective landscape methodologies and associated tools.Next Steps9.14 The immediate priority is to hold a dissemination conference with relevant stakeholdersto discuss the findings of this research. This is planned for September 28thth 2005 at theMacaulay Institute.9.15 This report has identified the need for further research on the effectiveness of LLDs, inparticular:LLDs as diversionary tools9.16 The extent to which LLDs actually divert development pressure in the first place hasnot been researched. It is clear that developers should be interviewed to elicit the extent towhich the LLD label acts as a disincentive towards making planning applications in the firstplace or whether it modifies their behaviour or decision making in any other substantive way.9.17 Additionally there is a need to consider the impact of informal planning negotiationsand the extent to which such discussions affect planning applications in LLDs and the widercountryside.Analysis of development control data for LLDs and wider countryside using similarplanning applications9.18 The research questioned the extent to which LLD objectives can be, or are being, metthrough the operation of wider countryside policies. The perception we observed was thatpolicies for the wider countryside were relatively unsuccessful in preventing developmentpressures. We hope to gain the cooperation of three urban and rural authorities to test these 60
  • 61. findings using development control data. Here similar types of planning application for thewider countryside and LLDs will be subjected to analysis to test for differences using asimilar approach to Scott’s (2001) study in Ceredigion. The use of several authorities willallow inter-authority variation to be critically examined.Recommendations for SNH and its partners9.19 To use the guidance documents as a mechanism for achieving the positive aspects ofLLDs and re-defining additionality criteria that can be used across all planning authorities.9.20 To re-energise the landscape agenda in Scotland through a new landscape strategyexercise in Scotland covering all designations and the wider countryside (in conjunction withthe Scottish Executive)9.21 To provide accessible guidance for the science, tools and techniques that localauthorities can use for landscape evaluation purposes.9.22 To form a LLD working group to progress the matters in the guidance and furtherdevelopments in a strategic manner.Recommendations for Local Authorities9.23 To undertake a comprehensive review of LLDs following the issuing of SNH/HSguidance. There should be a presumption against continuing with existing LLD boundaries ifthere has been no up-to-date work to support them.9.24 To re-evaluate LLDs with both positive and more control orientated functions.9.25 To have dedicated public consultation on LLDs where they are envisaged indevelopment plan updates. 61
  • 62. 9.26 To instigate close working arrangements with neighbouring local authorities,particularly where LLDs are in close proximity to such boundaries.9.27 LLDs should be accompanied by concise citations which set out the qualities that led totheir identification, the characteristics which should be safeguarded or enhanced, and anyparticular development factors9.28 LLDs should also demonstrate community involvement and support and should bemore explicitly linked to economic and social development aspects of development plans. 62
  • 63. 10 ReferencesAnderson, M. A. (1981), ‘Planning policies and development control in the Sussex DownsAONB’, Town Planning Review, 52, 5–25.Bowen-Rees, I. (1995), Beyond National Parks, Consuming the Landscape of a DemocraticWales, Llandyssul, Gomer Press.Brotherton, i. (1982), ‘Development pressures and control in the National Parks 1966–81’,Town Planning Review, 53, 439–59.Burgess, J., Harrison, C. and Lumb, M. (1988) Exploring environmental values throughmedium of small groups. Environment and Planning A. (20) 309-326Cobham Resource Consultants (1993), Review of Special Landscape Areas in Kent (Reportfor Kent County Council), Oxford, Cobham Resource Consultants.Council of Europe (2000) European Landscape Convention Article 1 : Brussels EUCountryside Agency/Rural Development Commission (1998), Rural Development and LandUse Planning Policies (Research Notes RDR 38/S), Salisbury, Countryside Agency.Countryside Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage (2002), Landscape CharacterAssessment: Guidance for England and Scotland, Cheltenham/Edinburgh, CountrysideAgency/Scottish Natural Heritage.Countryside Council for Wales (1996), The Welsh Landscape: A Policy Document, Bangor,CCW.Countryside Council for Wales) (1998), LANDMAP: The Landscape Assessment andDecision Making Process, Bangor, CCW.Countryside Council for Wales (2001), The LANDMAP Information System, Bangor,CCW.Department of the Environment (1992), The Countryside and Rural Economy (PlanningPolicy Guidance Note 7), London, HMSO.Department of the Environment (1997), The Countryside: Environmental Quality andEconomic and Social Development (Planning Policy Guidance Note 7), London, HMSO.Fife County Council (2004) Landscape Capacity Assessment Cupar, Report to Fife Council.Gold, J.R. and Burgess, J. (eds) (1982), Valued Environments, London, George Allen &Unwin.Jones, L. (2002), ‘Special Landscape Areas in Wales’ (unpublished paper given to the WelshLandscape Group), Cardiff, TACP Consultants.Nottingham University Consultants (2004) Haines-Young et al (2004) Countryside QualityCounts: Tracking Change in the English Countryside: Final Report 7th June2004Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) (2003), The Countryside: Environmental Quality and 63
  • 64. Economic and Social Development (PPG 7 [1997], revised), of the Deputy Prime Minister (2005) Planning Policy Statement 7 SustainableDevelopment in Rural Areas London: ODPMO’Riordan, T. (1983), ‘Development and control of rural resources’ in B. Johnson (ed.), TheConservation and Development Programme for the UK: A Response to the WorldConservation Strategy, London, Kogan Page, 191.Penning-Rowsell, E.C. (1982) A public preference evaluation of landscape quality. RegionalStudies 16 (2), 97-112Scott, A.J. (2001), ‘Special Landscape Areas: Their operation and effectiveness inCeredigion, Wales’, Town Planning Review, 72, 469–80.Scott, A.J. (2002), ‘Assessing public perception of landscape: the LANDMAP experience’,Landscape Research, 27, 271–95.Scott, A.J. and Bullen, A. (2004)Special Landscape Areas: Landscape conservation orconfusion in the town and country planning system, Town Planning Review 75 (2) 205-230Scott, A.J and Falzon C (2005) Sustainable Landscape: Criteria and Indicators for Measuringand Characterizing the Landscape of Wales, report to the Countryside Council for Wales,Bangor, CCW.:Scottish Office (1962) 2/1962 Development Plans: Areas of Great Landscape Value andTourist Development Proposals, Edinburgh: the Scottish OfficeScottish Office (1998), National Planning Policy Guidelines 14: Natural Heritage’, Edinburgh,The Scottish Office.Scottish Executive (2000) Planning for Natural Heritage: Planning Advice Note 60(PAN 60), Edinburgh, The Scottish OfficeScottish Executive (2001) Natural Heritage, Edinburgh, TheScottish ExecutiveScottish Natural Heritage and Historic Scotland (2005) Guidance on Local LandscapeDesignations, Final Report Battleby: Scottish Natural Heritage.Shoard, M. (1982a), ‘The lure of the moors’ in Gold and Burgess (eds), ValuedEnvironments, London, George Allen & Unwin. 55–73.Shoard, M. (1982b), The Theft of the Countryside, London, Temple Smith.Swanwick C (2003) Techniques and Criteria for Judging Capacity and Sensitivity. LandscapeCharacter Assessment Guidance. Topic Paper 6. Countryside Agency and Scottish NaturalHeritageTapsell, S.M.(1995) River restoration: what are we restoring to? A case study of theRavensbourne River London. Landscape Research 20 (3) 98-111 64
  • 65. Welsh Assembly Government (2002), Planning Policy Wales, Cardiff, Welsh AssemblyGovernment.Welsh Assembly Government (2004) What Kind of Countryside do You Want, report toWelsh Assembly Government Planning Division, Cardiff, Welsh Assembly Government. 65
  • 66. 11 Appendix 1Local Authority spatial data © Copyright© Aberdeen City Council© Aberdeenshire Council© Argyll and Bute Council© Clackmannanshire Council© Dumfries & Galloway Council© East Ayrshire Council© East Dunbartonshire Council© East Lothian Council© Edinburgh City Council© Falkirk Council© Fife Environmental Recording Network 2004© Glasgow City Council 2005© Highland Council© Inverclyde Council© Midlothian Council© Moray Council© North Ayrshire Council© North Lanarkshire Council© Perth & Kinross Council© Scottish Borders Council© Shetland Islands Council© South Ayrshire Council© South Lanarkshire Council© Stirling Council 66