N.1.i Network of Spaces

4.67 Existing green and blue features, including hedgerows, trees, watercourses and ponds must be retained and incorporated into designs, unless to the proposal can demonstrate net benefits to green infrastructure.

Back to top

4.68 All development must reinforce the green infrastructure network both within and surrounding the site.

4.69 Private gardens should utilise mature shrub and tree species to create visual interest, year-round structure and wildlife refuge.

4.70 Native species, ideally of local provenance, will be favoured over non-native species due to their role in reinforcing the Lake District's unique landscape character and providing for local wildlife.

4.71 Where boundary features are required to plots and/or sites, use boundary features such as:

  • Dry stone walls and retaining walls
  • Hedges and hedgerows
  • Coppicing
  • Timber picket or vertical board fences
  • Metal railings
  • Back to top

  • Green walls & green roofs – suitable for more urban locations, these provide opportunities for greening the street scene.

  • Private gardens – these contribute significantly towards biodiversity within built up areas.

N.2.i Working with Water

4.72 New development that is adjacent to water must respond sensitively to the ecological, recreational and visual amenity of the asset, as well as have consideration for the flood risk that it can pose, and the potential for contaminated run-off. Within the Lake District, water can include lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, wetlands, estuaries and the sea.

Back to top

4.73 Particular design considerations must be given to schemes that are located on lake shores due to the prominence of their position in views from the lake and from other shores.

  • Primary frontages must be delivered on both the road-facing and lake-facing sides of the building to preserve visual amenity from both aspects.
  • Where detached dwellings sit within large plots along lake shores, gaps between adjoining properties should be retained to allow for glimpsed views of the lake and opposite shores.
  • New or upgraded boat houses should match the scale of existing or surrounding boat houses. The use of traditional local building materials is encouraged, as is the sensitive contemporary interpretation of these building styles.
  • Existing trees and mature vegetation must be retained on sites unless for exceptional reasons. New tree planting is encouraged to soften views of new built form and to help integrate it into the wider landscape.
  • Dwellings along lake shores should retain expanses of open gardens and lawn adjacent to the water. Built form up to and on the water's edge should be limited to boat houses.
  • Back to top

  • Here at Staveley, riparian vegetation along the River Kent has been retained adjacent to new development. This not only supports the local and strategic nature network, but helps to soften views towards new built form and provide privacy for occupiers.

N.2.ii Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)

4.74 All new development must integrate Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) that achieve greenfield run-off rates. This must be demonstrated through a site-specific drainage strategy.

4.75 In all development situations, the SuDS Management Train must be applied, as illustrated below. Surface water that is captured and managed above-ground on site for non-potable uses, such as irrigation, will always be favoured.

Back to top

Click to zoom in

Sustainable Drainage Hierarchy

  1. Rainwater used as a resource, for example rainwater harvesting, blue roofs for irrigation.
  2. Rainwater infiltration to ground at or close to source.
  3. Rainwater attenuation in green infrastructure features in the wider site for gradual release, for example rain gardens and swales.
  4. Rainwater discharged to watercourse, unless not appropriate.
  5. Controlled rainwater discharge to a surface water sewer or drain.
  6. Controlled rainwater discharge to a combined sewer.
  7. Back to top

4.76 SuDS must be considered in the early stages of design and, where possible, incorporated within the design. Multifunctional SuDS that also allow for biodiversity and recreation will be favoured.

4.77 The form, function and design of SuDS will vary on a site-by-site basis depending on topography, ground conditions, permeability, contamination potential, adjacent watercourses and the sensitivity of groundwater receptors.

4.78 Where sites have been previously developed, the potential for ‘replacing redundant or paved or sealed surfaces and replacing this with SuDS should be explored.

4.79 The design of new SuDS must carefully, yet imaginatively, respond to local character and the setting of the scheme.

  • For developments located within towns and village cores, more formal and manicured SuDS, such as constructed rain gardens, rills and swales, may be appropriate and provide a valuable contribution towards enhancing the character of the development.
  • For developments located within the rural fringes, more naturalistic SuDS, including soft-sided swales, vegetated ditches, attenuation ponds and wetlands will be more appropriate.

4.80 The creative use of permeable paving and gullies that respond to their context is encouraged.

4.81 Planting choice within SuDS must consider how biodiversity and pollinators can best be provided for. The incorporation of trees and larger specimens is encouraged. The use of native plant and tree species is required.

4.82 SuDS should contribute to amenity and biodiversity. For these reasons ‘pipe to basin’ SuDS where runoff is channelled into an underground tank must only be used as a last resort to manage water runoff from a site.

4.83 The longevity of SuDS and their ongoing maintenance must be secured for the lifetime of the development.

4.84 Applicants should refer to the SuDS Manual for detailed guidance on the correct application of SuDS in their scheme, including calculating and using greenfield run-off rates.

Back to top

No results have been found

N.3ii Biodiversity Net Gain

4.85 Development should contribute to nature recovery through the creation of more areas of wildlife-rich habitat in bigger patches, of better quality, that are more joined-up (see Cumbria Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS)).

4.86 All development must:

  • Refer to the Biodiversity SPD.
  • Avoid adverse impact on biodiversity wherever possible. At the design stage, this includes avoidance of habitat loss or provision of appropriate buffers to retained or adjacent features of value. At the construction stage, this may include interventions to prevent the spread of non-native invasive species such as giant hogweed, and/or safeguarding of protected species such as otter.
  • Minimise any unavoidable adverse impacts, for example, reinstatement of habitat temporarily lost to construction access, timing works to avoid sensitive times of year (as informed be a qualified ecologist). Unavoidable impacts will be reflected in the nature and scale of BNG requirement for each proposed development site.
  • Mitigate for unavoidable impacts on habitats and species, such as the provision of bird nest boxes where tree or hedgerow nesting habitat is lost, and replacement habitats take time to establish.
  • Compensate for unavoidable is considered only after all possibilities for avoidance etc have been exhausted. If compensating for losses within the development footprint is not possible or does not generate adequate or appropriate compensation, off-site (off-set) options may be considered. Examples on how to deliver biodiversity within the mitigation hierarchy are set out within the Biodiversity SPD.

4.87 The priority is to retain and enhance existing habitat features of local biodiversity importance (as identified in the emerging LNRS), for example, species-rich grasslands – both hay meadows and pasture in the low-lying valleys and lower slopes.

4.88 Any loss of habitat should be reinstated, for example reinstating hedgerows around the boundary or, where this is not possible, compensated. A qualified ecologist will make locally appropriate recommendations for biodiversity enhancements as part of the ecological assessment process.

4.89 BNG, and more general ecological enhancements delivered as part of development, should be locally appropriate and contribute to the Nature Recovery Network. As part of this network, BNG or general enhancements contribute to the reinstatement, restoration or reintroduction of local conservation priority species (as part of the emerging LNRS, an updated list of Priority Cumbria Species will be developed). The Building with Nature standards or emerging tools such as the Environmental Benefits for Nature Tool or the NATURE Tool can be used to find locally-appropriate restoration planting schemes

4.90 Development must avoid potential impact on protected species. Where this is not possible, the Natural England licensing requirements apply (determined in the ecological assessment in light of the unavoidable impacts at the application site).

4.91 New development should balance introduction of impermeable built surface through provision of an enhanced network of wetland features including ponds, naturalised surface SuDS or ephemeral ditches to support invertebrates, amphibians and birds.

4.92 Avoid the use of hard boundaries around private spaces, unless it is traditional stone walls, and instead retain, restore, and expand on existing hedgerows to provide habitat connectivity across the site and allow for species movement. New hedge planting should be set back approximately 3m from the boundary to allow space for growth. Manage hedges to maintain structural diversity. Non-native hedge species must be avoided.

4.93 Retained trees and hedgerows require adequate root protection zone to ensure their longevity. Their function as part of a habitat mosaic can be optimised through creation and enhancement of adjacent and overhanging / underlying features, such as species-rich grassland verges alongside hedgerows, wet ditches and ponds. Appropriate dimensions and position within the sites will be guided by the ecological assessment, taking into account the site context (topography, substrate/s, proposed shading, etc) and biological requirements of target species.

4.94 Native woodland, shrub, and hedgerows planting should reflect local landscape character and plant typologies.

4.95 Roost and nest boxes for wildlife should be integrated to built development or as part of the wider scheme. Ranging from bird and bat boxes to bug hotels these will be selected for local species, sited at the appropriate height and aspect, and be connected to habitat which allows the target species to successfully establish in. Nest boxes must comply with the relevant British Standard: BS 42021:2022.

4.96 Roosts, nest boxes and microhabitats can be used to attract wildlife that is currently absent to the site. For example, the incorporation of swift bricks in places where swifts are not presently recorded will assist with nature recovery by providing the necessary habitat.

4.97 A variety of physical structures on-site should be used to provide a wider range of microhabitats, niches and microclimates for species. Examples include standing and fallen dead wood, scrub, and a range of vegetation conditions from patches of open ground to very dense vegetation.

4.98 Proposed lighting – both external and internal light spill – should respect habitat areas retained and created on site. Artificial light should avoid areas (including dispersal routes and foraging areas) intended for nocturnal or crepuscular (twilight) species for risk of deterring their use. General guidance provided by the Good Lighting Technical Advisory Note, the Institute of Lighting Professional Guidance and the Bat Conservation Trust addresses parameters including light levels, direction, duration and reflective glare. Specific information will be provided in the ecological assessment.

4.99 Planting trees, shrubs, climbers and ground plants offers significant opportunity to benefit biodiversity as part of sensitive development. Key considerations are to incorporate a diverse selection of locally-appropriate species, suitable to the soil type and ground conditions. Selection of species resilient to climate change means those better able to cope with the more extreme and fluctuating seasonal conditions in the context of the site (prone to flooding, drought, etc). Inclusion of a diverse mix will also promote resilience. Selection of fruiting, nectar-rich and berry-bearing species which collectively provide a foraging resource for wildlife throughout the year is beneficial. In addition to the Cumbria PLAN BEE for pollinators, wildlife-friendly planting lists are available from a range of recognised bodies including the RHS, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, RSPB and Bug life.

4.100 Artificial grass must not be used as it has no ecological value and introduces ecological harms by removing grass habitat and introducing and impermeable plastic surface.

Back to top

  • Habitat stepping stones should be provided across built up areas to create opportunities for wildlife movement between core habitat areas, such as ancient woodland.

  • Veteran trees support a large number of native bird and invertebrate species. Like all trees, their presence should be noted from the outset of the design process and should be celebrated and incorporated into green space design within new development.

  • Situated on a tributary of the Aira Beck, Dowthwaite Farmhouse overlooks a mosaic of wet grassland, sedges and pollarded willow.

  • Mature trees, hedges and shrubs provide an important refuge for wildlife within settlements, particularly within private gardens.

  • Tussocky swards can provide important refuge for invertebrates, particularly overwintering species such as beetles and spiders. This in turn supports small mammals and birds.

  • Dry stone walls provide varied microclimates and shelter for invertebrates, reptiles and small mammals. They can even be used as nesting sites for birds. Old dry stone walls are of particular importance due to their moss and lichen assemblages.

  • Mature vegetation not only effectively screens and integrates infrastructure into the landscape, but also creates movement corridors for wildlife.

  • Undisturbed areas are essential for thriving wildlife, particularly in locations which are popular for recreation.

A traditional stone built cottage.

Other Design Code chapters:

Context and Character



Return to Design Code home page