3.72 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.
3.73 All development must reinforce the green infrastructure network both within and surrounding the site.
3.74 Private gardens should utilise mature shrub and tree species to create visual interest, year-round structure and wildlife refuge.
3.75 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.
3.76 Where boundary features are required to plots and/or sites, use boundary features such as:
3.77 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.
3.78 The following checklist must be used to ensure new development that is located adjacent to water is designed sensitively:
3.79 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.
3.80 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.
3.81 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.
3.82 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.
3.83 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.
3.84 Where sites have been previously developed, the potential for replacing redundant paved or sealed surfaces with SuDS should be explored.
3.85 The design of new SuDS must carefully, yet imaginatively, respond to local character and the setting of the scheme.
3.86 The creative use of permeable paving and gullies that respond to their context is encouraged.
3.87 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.
3.88 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.
3.89 The longevity of SuDS and their ongoing maintenance must be secured for the lifetime of the development.
3.90 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.
3.91 All development must:
3.92 The priority is to retain and enhance existing habitat features of local biodiversity importance (see LNRS), for example, species-rich grasslands – both hay meadows and pasture in the low-lying valleys and lower slopes.
3.93 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.
3.94 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
3.95 Development which is subject to the BNG obligations must deliver a minimum of 10% Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) to be maintained for a minimum period of 30 years. Recognising variability in local ecological character across the Lake District, appropriate BNG requirements will be informed by an ecological assessment and use of the latest version of the Defra Biodiversity Metric by a qualified ecologist. A Biodiversity Gain Plan setting out the BNG committed to will form part of the ecological assessment submitted with the planning application.
3.96 A minimum 15m aspiring to a 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.
3.97 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.
3.98 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.
3.99 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.
3.100 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.
3.101 Native woodland, shrub, and hedgerows planting should reflect local landscape character and plant typologies.
3.102 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.
3.103 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.
3.104 Achieve a variety of physical structures on-site 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.
3.105 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.
3.106 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.
3.107 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.
1. 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. Within the Lake District, water can include lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, wetlands, estuaries and the sea.
2. 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.
2a. Primary façades must be delivered on both the road-facing and lake-facing sides of the property 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.
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 is to be limited to boat houses.