Wear Lowlands Strategy
To conserve the character of the valley landscapes of the Wear while enhancing those areas which have been most affected by development, accommodating the needs of nearby urban populations while maintaining a strong rural identity to the countryside between towns and villages. A key component of the strategy for this settled landscape is the improvement of the countryside around towns and villages.
- WL1 To improve the urban and urban fringe environment, particularly that of former mining settlements.
- WL2 To maintain and strengthen the rural character of the landscape between towns and villages and particularly in the Green Belt.
- WL3 To conserve the character of historic villages and town centres.
- WL4 To conserve, enhance and restore characteristic features of the valley landscape – semi-natural oak and oak/birch woodlands, lowland heath, old hedges and mature trees, natural watercourses, ponds and wetlands, and old grasslands.
- WL5 To conserve, and increase awareness of, relic landscapes and landscape features – and particularly those of the medieval landscape, rig and furrow, historic parklands and relics of the coal industry, railway and wagon way networks.
- WL6 To conserve historic parks and gardens
- WL7 To encourage integrated farm management and uptake of Environmental Stewardship.
- WL8 To enhance the management of arable land by creating buffers to hedgerows, trees, wetlands and watercourses.
- WL9 To encourage enhanced management of land used for equestrian activities.
- WL10 To restore ancient semi-natural woods where they have been affected by restocking.
- WL11 To increase woodland cover, particularly in those areas affected by opencast mining, on reclaimed land, and in the urban fringe.
- WL12 To create new native woodlands, particularly where they would extend or link existing ancient woods, along watercourses and on floodplains.
- WL13 To encourage good practice in woodland management to improve the landscape, wildlife and amenity benefit of existing woods.
- WL14 To maintain the stock of hedgerow and parkland trees by conserving veteran trees and planting or tagging new hedgerow trees.
- WL15 To improve the landscape of former opencast sites and other reclaimed land by planting new woodlands and hedgerows.
- WL16 To restore mineral workings in a way that strengthens landscape character and enhances biodiversity, for example by creating new woodlands, heathlands, wetlands and grasslands.
- WL17 To encourage the creation of new wetland habitats and particularly ponds and reed beds.
- WL18 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.
- WL19 To improve flood storage on valley floodplains by restoring natural flooding regimes.
- WL20 To promote the restoration of river and stream bank and floodplain vegetation and particularly wet woodland.
- WL21 To encourage control of invasive bank side species and improvement of riverbank habitat to make it less susceptible to colonisation by invasive species.
- WL22 To maintain and increase access to the countryside around towns and villages, and particularly circular neighbourhood walks and long distance paths.
- WL23 To create accessible natural green space close to towns and villages.
- WL24 To reduce traffic on country lanes and create new safe routes or ‘greenways’ for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders between towns and villages.
- WL25 To ensure that new development is in keeping with the character of its surroundings and contributes positively to landscape, biodiversity and community strategies for the area.
- WL26 To maintain the setting of the World Heritage Site and key views of Durham Cathedral.
- WL27 To reduce light pollution.
- WL28 To encourage sustainable forms of farm diversification that respect and enhance character of local landscape and bring benefits to local communities.
- WL29 To encourage improvements to the environment of industrial sites and positive management of vacant industrial land.
- WL30 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 Wear Lowlands 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 Wear Lowlands 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.