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
SuDS must be considered in the early stages of design and, where possible, incorporated within highway and open space design. Multifunctional SuDS that also allow for biodiversity and recreation will be favoured.
All new development must integrate Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) that achieve greenfield run-off rates.
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.
Where surface water is discharged into a watercourse, surface water sewer or drain or combined sewer (respectively options 4, 5 or 6 below) it must first pass through an attenuation measure as outlined in option 3, below.
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
Rainwater harvesting systems should be installed in all new developments, including extensions and alterations. This will ease the pressure on the local water supply during drought periods.
Where there is new or redesigned greenspace, new development must achieve species diversity and planting resilient tree and plant species based on the projected changes in climate in the area, ensuring the development is resilient to the potential climate risks facing the Lake District. Forest Research’s ESC4 tool should be used when deciding on the appropriate tree species composition for planting.
Example of constructed rain gardens with ornamental species which are more suited to town centres
Example of constructed rain garden with ornamental species which are more suited to town centres. Credit: India Hobson.
Houses near Water
Extensions and alterations to buildings 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 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.
Particular design considerations must be given to extensions and alterations of buildings 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.
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.
The following checklist must be used to ensure new development that is located adjacent to water is designed sensitively:
Has a sufficient buffer zone been left between new built form and the waterbody to allow for management (normally 5m+ or 8m+ in the case of Main Rivers)?
Has a sufficient buffer zone been left between built form and the waterbody to allow space for wildlife? For lake shores the buffer should be at least 5m.
Has sufficient space been left to allow for future flood defences, if appropriate?
Has flood risk, including fluvial, marine, surface water and ground water, been considered within the siting and design of the development?
Could the extension have an adverse impact on water quality within the waterbody?
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.
Biodiversity Net Gain
All development must refer to the Biodiversity SPD. Householder developments, including extensions and alterations are not required to achieve BNG requirements, however development proposals are expected to demonstrate an overall positive impact on the natural environment.
Natural environment enhancements can be delivered by:
including standing and fallen dead wood, scrub and a range of vegetation conditions from patches of open ground to dense vegetation
planting locally-appropriate tree species, shrubs, climbers and ground plants. 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.
Retaining trees and hedgerows and creating an adequate root protection zone to ensure their longevity.
Integrating roost and next boxes into all types of development including extensions and alterations. These should be 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. Swift bricks integrated into the walls are preferable to external boxes as they are a permanent feature of the building, require no maintenance, can be aesthetically integrated with the design and materials of the building, and have better temperature regulation with future climate change in mind.
Incorporating ponds and other water features within gardens.
Avoiding 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 to allow for species movement. New hedge planting should be set back approximately 3m from the boundary to allow space for growth. Non-native hedge species must be avoided.
Avoiding both external and internal light spill from artificial lighting. General guidance provided by the Cumbria Good Lighting Technical Advisory Note and the Bat Conservation Trust addresses parameters including light levels, direction, duration and reflective glare.
Community gardens, allotments & food growing – these can include formal allotments plots, small community growing spaces or community orchards.
Green walls & green roofs – suitable for more urban locations, these provide opportunities for greening the street scene.
Natural spaces – these often-forgotten green corridors help to bring wildlife into the heart of more towns, for example via railways, rivers, roadside verges, woodland shelter belts and other transitory land.
Private gardens – these contribute significantly towards biodiversity within built up areas.
Rural areas – this accounts for the vast proportion of the Lake District and includes areas of agricultural land, woodland, moorland, fells, lakes and coastline.
Semi-public spaces – institutions such as schools and churches will often sit within green space. A number of the Lake's District's designed landscapes are also semi-public as they sit behind a pay barrier.
Squares, village greens & pocket parks – smaller areas of green space which serve the neighbourhood level and can be used for informal recreation, socialising and play.
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.
A minimum 30m buffer of semi-natural habitats should be applied between development and ancient woodland. These are mapped in the Local Nature Recovery basemap. Where assessment shows other impacts are likely to extend beyond 15m, the development is likely to need a larger buffer zone. Determination and creation of buffer zones should follow Natural England and Forestry Commission Guidance: Ancient woodland, ancient trees and veteran trees: advice for making planning decisions.
Developments should retain or create an appropriate buffer distance from the top of the bank of watercourses (to be determined by the ecological assessment). The buffer zone should contain natural and semi-natural habitats, such as trees, wetland, scrub or grassland, which can protect water quality, stabilise banks and provide biodiversity value. Recreational access within this zone should be sensitively designed to avoid risk of habitat degradation or species disturbance during and post construction.
New housing 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 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.
Particular design considerations must be given to housing schemes that are located on lake shores due to the prominence of their position in views from the lake and from other shores.
2a. Primary frontages must be delivered on both the road-facing and lake-facing sides of the building to preserve visual amenity from both aspects.
2b. 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.
2c. 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.
2d. 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.
All schemes must check their requirement for nutrient neutrality validation before submitting a planning application. Information regarding catchment areas subject to nutrient neutrality measures, information requirements, and types of development that are exempt can be found on the LDNPA website.
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.
The Lake District National Park Authority looks after this unique corner of England, encouraging people to enjoy and understand its beauty and helping those who live and work here. Our staff include rangers and field workers, advisers at our visitor centres, planners and ecologists.