What is Landscape Character?
Put simply, landscape character is what makes
an area unique. It is defined as "a distinct, recognisable and
consistent pattern of elements, be it natural (soil, landform)
and/or human (for example settlement and development) in the
landscape that makes one landscape different from another, rather
than better or worse".
Why is landscape character important?
We can only make informed and responsible
decisions on the management and planning of sustainable future
landscapes if we pay proper regard to their existing character.
By understanding how places differ we can also
ensure that future development is well situated, sensitive to its
location, and contributes to environmental, social and economic
The need to enhance landscape character is
endorsed by the Government in planning policy statements and is one
of the central aims of Environmental Stewardship.
Landscape Character Assessment
Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) is a
technique used to develop a consistent and comprehensive
understanding of what gives England’s landscape its character.
It involves identification of those features
or combinations of elements that contribute to the character of the
landscape, thereby enabling the special character and qualities of
an area to be understood.
This information allows reasoned consideration
of those issues affecting the landscape in order to develop
appropriate recommendations for its future conservation and
Landscape character assessment can make a
valuable contribution to the formation of planning policies, to the
allocation of land for development, to development control
activities, and to processes such as environmental assessment.
Landscape Character Areas
England has been divided into areas with
similar landscape character, which are called National Character
Areas (NCAs); previously known as Joint Character Areas (JCAs).
To find out more about these please click
here to go to
Northumberland has been divided into the
following landscape character areas:
- North Northumberland Coastal Plain
- Northumberland Sandstone Hills
- Cheviot Fringe
- Border Moors and Forests
- North Pennines
- Tyne Gap and Hadrians Wall
- Mid Northumberland
- South East Northumberland Coastal Plain
To view a map of these areas and the other
North East Landscape Character Areas, please click
A Northumberland Landscape Character Assessment
The Northumberland Landscape Character
Assessment assesses the landscape character based on an
understanding of the natural, historic and aesthetic factors that
in combination create local distinctiveness. The Landscape
Character Assessment for Northumberland has now been
completed and can be viewed by clicking here.