What are we trying to achieve?

[3.26.01] We continue to support Government’s view that National Parks are not the place for Major Development except in the most exceptional circumstances. We want to ensure that if these exceptional circumstances are demonstrated in the Lake District then all possible measures to minimise adverse effects are secured.

Policy 26: Major development

Proposals for major development will be refused except in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated that they are in the public interest.

Whether a proposal constitutes major development will be determined by reason of the proposal’s nature, scale and setting, and whether it has the potential to have a significant adverse impact on the National Park’s statutory purposes.

Exceptional circumstances and whether the development is in the public interest will be determined in accordance with the criteria outlined in national policy and guidance for major development.

Where these criteria can be satisfied all possible measures should be taken to avoid adverse effects on the Special Qualities and attributes of Outstanding Universal Value of the Lake District.  Where adverse impacts cannot be avoided, harm should be minimised through appropriate mitigation measures. Appropriate and practicable compensation will be required for any unavoidable adverse effects which cannot be mitigated.

When the activity for which major development is required ceases the land will be required to be appropriately restored or enhanced.

Implementation guidance

[3.26.04] We will determine what constitutes major development in accordance with national planning policy and guidance.  We will consider:

  • nature;
  • scale;
  • setting, and
  • whether the proposal has the potential to have a significant adverse impact on the purposes for which the Lake District has been designated

Our assessment will draw upon evidence relating to (but not limited to):

  • Size and capacity of the site;
  • Settlement profiles, such as the housing stock information and employment land information;
  • Landscape character and sensitivity to accommodate development, such as Landscape Character Assessments, Landscape and Visual Impact Assessments;
  • Settlement character, such as Conservation Area Appraisals, World Heritage Nomination Dossier;
  • Rights of Way Network;
  • Habitat surveys, such as Phase 1 Habitat Surveys;
  • Whether the development is Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) development;
  • Whether developments that fall within Schedule 2 of the EIA Regulations after being screened by the Authority, are considered as likely to have significant effects on the environment due to their nature, scale and setting and require an assessment.

[3.26.05] A balanced judgement will be made to determine whether exceptional circumstances exist and whether the development would be in the public interest.

[3.26.06] The need for assessments to consider the exceptional circumstances and public interest of a proposal will be determined by national policy requirements and guidance.

Current situation

[3.26.02] National policy states that planning permission should be refused for major development in designated areas other than in exceptional circumstances, and where it can be demonstrated that the development is in the public interest. National policy and guidance provides the criteria to determine whether the exceptional circumstances and public interest can be demonstrated.

[3.26.03] Examples of major development proposals may include road schemes, pipelines and tunnels, energy supply schemes (conventional, nuclear or large scale renewable), high voltage electricity transmission schemes, water supply schemes and reservoirs, large scale tourism or leisure schemes, or proposals for major new waste disposal or management facilities (including those for nuclear waste). However, smaller-scale proposals may also be considered to be major development depending on the local context as determined by the nature, scale and setting of a proposal.