Landscape Character Assessment
Landscape character comprises the distinct set of elements that makes a landscape recognisable, and gives it a unique ‘sense of place’. Landscape character assessment is the process of mapping, classifying and describing the patterns and variations which contribute to the character of a landscape.
The European Landscape Convention (ELC) came into effect in the UK in March 2007 and is adopted and promoted by the Council of Europe. The ELC definition of landscape is all embracing:
“Landscape means an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors.”
Following the introduction of the ELC, a broader approach to ‘landscape’ has been pursued at a national level, grounded in the principle that all landscapes matter, regardless of location or condition. The ELC makes it clear that landscapes do not stop at urban boundaries.
This report presents a description and evaluation of the landscape of the Borough of Darlington. It has been prepared on behalf of Darlington Borough Council to provide part of the evidence base for forthcoming development planning documents.
No previous landscape character assessment (LCA) has been carried out for the Borough of Darlington, and as a result there is a perceived gap in the available evidence on landscape character and landscape sensitivity. In particular, the report has been commissioned to inform a review of potential housing sites, although the findings of the LCA are more widely applicable to a range of land use planning policies and decisions.