Landscape Planning for Sustainable Development
Mrs Emily Smyth (Ulster)
The European Landscape Convention commits the Northern Ireland government since 2007 to recognising landscape as a common resource to which everyone has rights and responsibilities for culture, quality of life and individual and social wellbeing, and economic activity; that changes in the economy accelerate landscape transformation; and that cooperation in protection, management and planning of landscape is important. Research undertaken for the Ministerial Advisory Group for Architecture and the Built Environment in Northern Ireland (MAG) demonstrates revision of the 1999 Northern Ireland Landscape Character Assessment is crucial, and that Landscape Character Assessment as the basis for green infrastructure strategic design is in turn the basis for local development plan-making, that landscape quality objectives should uphold landscape value, and that competency is dependent on adequate expertise within the local authority.
In Northern Ireland, landscape policies, and the integration of landscape into planning and all other policies, are required. The first planning policy for landscapes designated as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty was published in 2013. However, drawing on the MAG research findings, this presentation establishes that all landscapes of all qualities must be included in such policies. It provides an investigative overview relating to an overarching Landscape Strategy for Northern Ireland, binding on all government; and concludes that for sustainable development, all development, land and activities, must manage, enhance or protect the environmental resources parallel with those of cultural society, as the research findings indicate.