The natural environment is a very important asset. It has shaped how the area has developed and continues to attract tourists visiting to experience the wealth of wildlife and spectacular landscapes that the district offers. The Council shares responsibility for the protection of the environment with a number of organisations, namely Natural England and the Environment Agency.
The district's natural assets are protected by various means that are based on designated features such as habitats, species or landscape considerations. Such sites within the district are briefly mentioned below.
In the district there are a handful of sites that are protected under European legislation. In Eden these sites comprise Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Areas (SPA). These sites are important for protecting vulnerable habitats and act to safeguard areas for key animals and plants. The planning process treats these areas with a particular delicacy to ensure that they are not adversely affected by developments that come forward.
Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) are nationally protected sites that represent the Country's very best wildlife and geological sites. A number of SSSIs can often be found within an SAC/SPA, which gives it an additional layer of protection. Natural England monitor the progress of SSSIs, and similarly offer guidance on the conservation of SACs/SPAs.
The unique landscape of the North Pennines is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The recently published North Pennines AONB Management Plan identifies the means to achieve a vision for the area. The council is committed to ensuring this vision is met giving financial support and through the active role it plays in the North Pennines AONB Partnership.
Eden District also contains a large proportion of County Wildlife Sites and Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphical Sites (RIGS). Collectively known as ‘Local Sites’ these areas play an important part in sustaining and extending habitats which support local biodiversity. The Local Sites Partnership and the Local Records Centre, based at Tullie House, coordinate the monitoring and analysis of the County’s sites. Whilst there is no legislation directly protecting these areas they are identified at the early stages of a planning proposal or development. This ensures that the areas can afford high levels of protection, in a bid to conserve and halt the loss of biodiversity in the district.
For further information:
Visit the Natural England website or:
Contact: Sustainability Officer
Telephone: 01768 212266
Address: Planning Policy Services, Eden District Council, Mansion House, Penrith Cumbria CA11 7YG