West Durham Coalfield Strategy
The strategy proposed for the West Durham Coalfield is to enhance the landscape where it has been degraded by mining or development while conserving what is most distinctive and valued about its character, including its rural identity, its upland fringe qualities and its strong cultural associations with the coal and steel industries. A key component of the strategy for this settled landscape is the improvement of the countryside around towns and villages.
- WD1 To improve the urban and urban fringe environment, particularly that of former mining settlements.
- WD2 To maintain and strengthen the rural character of the landscape between towns and villages.
- WD3 To conserve the character of historic villages and town centres.
- WD4 To conserve, enhance and restore characteristic features of the coalfield landscape – heaths and fells, semi-natural oak and birch woodlands, ponds, old grasslands, old hedges, dry stonewalls, enclosure roads and lanes.
- WD5 To conserve relic landscapes and landscape features – particularly those of the coal and steel industries, the older medieval landscape,
- WD6 To conserve historic parks and gardens
- WD6 To encourage integrated farm management and uptake of Environmental Stewardship.
- WD7 To enhance the management of arable land by creating buffers to hedgerows, trees, wetlands and watercourses.
- WD8 To encourage enhanced management of land used for equestrian activities.
- WD9 To restore ancient semi-natural woods where they have been affected by restocking.
- WD10 To increase woodland cover, particularly in those areas affected by opencast mining, on reclaimed land, and in the urban fringe.
- WD11 To create new native woodlands, and particularly where they would contribute to wildlife goals – for example by extending or linking isolated ancient woods.
- WD12 To restructure commercial plantations to improve their relationship with the surrounding landscape and to restore damaged habitats like replanted ancient woodlands and planted heaths.
- WD13 To encourage good practice in woodland management to improve the landscape, wildlife and amenity benefit of existing woods.
- WD14 To maintain the stock of hedgerow and parkland trees by conserving veteran trees and planting or tagging new hedgerow trees.
- WD15 To improve the landscape of former opencast sites and other reclaimed land by restoring characteristic landscape features.
- WD16 To restore mineral workings in a way that strengthens landscape character and enhances biodiversity, for example by creating new woodlands, heathlands, wetlands and grasslands.
- WD17 To encourage the creation of new wetland habitats and particularly ponds
- WD18 To protect and improve the quality of watercourses by preventing or treating sources of pollution – for example through the development of reed beds to condition mine water and sewerage discharges.
- WD19 To improve flood storage on valley floodplains by restoring natural flooding regimes
- WD20 To promote the restoration of river and stream bank and floodplain vegetation and particularly wet woodland.
- WD21 To create accessible natural green space close to towns and villages.
- WD22 To maintain and increase access to the countryside around towns and villages, and particularly circular neighbourhood walks and long distance paths.
- WD23 To manage traffic on quiet country lanes and create new safe routes or ‘greenways’ for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders between towns and villages.
- WD24 To ensure that new development is in keeping with the character of its surroundings and contributes positively to the strategy for the area.
- WD25 To encourage sustainable forms of farm diversification that respect and enhance character of local landscape and bring benefits to local communities.
WD26 To encourage improvements to the environment of industrial sites and positive management of vacant industrial land.
- WD27 To ensure that the scale and form of wind energy development is compatible with the character of the local landscape.
- WD29 To encourage and promote greater involvement of local communities in decision making about neighbourhood landscapes.
The spatial strategy for the North Pennines has been derived from an analysis of Local Landscape Types, and informed by the objectives and strategy options identified for the West Durham Coalfield County Character Area.
Each Landscape Description Unit (LDU) has been assigned with one of six strategies: Conserve, Conserve and enhance, Conserve and restore, Restore, Restore or enhance, or Enhance. For further information on the how the spatial strategy was devived visit the methodology page.
The spatial strategy for the West Durham Coalfield can be downloaded as a table in pdf format.
Alternatively view an interactive map of the Spatial Strategy for County Durham.
Landscape Conservation and Improvement Priority Areas
Spatial Strategies can also be used to identify broader Landscape Conservation Priority Areas and Landscape Improvement Priority Areas. Those landscapes with strategies of conserve, conserve and restore and conserve and enhance are identified as Landscape Improvement Areas.