The Landscape Institute is an educational charity and chartered body which through advocacy, education and accreditation of professional standards pursues its purpose to protect, conserve and enhance the natural and built environment for the benefit of the public. Landscape Institute Northern Ireland (LINI) represents the professional membership within Northern Ireland. I was asked by the LINI committee to prepare this paper for LINI to give the LINI position on DOE proposals for Planning Reform in Northern Ireland. The paper proposes a vision for a reformed planning system in Northern Ireland, as a resource management system availing of good design skills to work in the public interest for the creation, repair, enhancement, protection, and sustaining of quality landscape (or place). The paper states that these precepts are already embedded within the European Landscape Convention (ELC), to which the Northern Ireland government is obliged to adhere. The ELC establishes a method of Landscape Planning which, unlike the current planning system built around restricted designated areas of ‘quality’, embeds management guidelines within all areas of landscape (rural, urban, peri-urban, quality, degraded, ordinary etc, and at all scales) throughout an entire nation. In order to meet the requirements of the ELC, the paper tasks the DOE to fully review the Northern Ireland Landscape Character Assessment (LCA), and originate all development plans in the guidelines of the LCAs within them. As landscape is an interaction between land and the society living within it, LCAs must have robust management guidelines drawn up with the involvement of the communities in those places. The landscape units to which these place-communities relate might not equate to district administrative boundaries, and the system must be able to align with landscape rather than arbitrary boundaries. The paper advises that the planning system must be supported by experts in landscape and design, and alerts the DOE to the worrying under-capacity of its current staff to provide this skill resource. The paper ends by proposing a PPS in Landscape matters.
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - 2 Oct 2009|