Cheshire has a landscape characterised by lowland plains, river valleys, woodlands and mires. The quality of Cheshire’s built and natural environments help to create a strong sense of local identity. Between 1985 and 1995 over 1,659 hectares of land was converted to urban use, mainly through the development of housing. There is a large swathe of greenbelt land to the North and East of Cheshire, covering 78,560 hectares.
Cheshire’s 2011 Replacement Structure Plan (1996) sets out the broad policy framework within which policies identify the amount and general location of land for new homes, businesses, shops and leisure facilities as well as the improvement of the transport network and protection of built and natural resources. During the first 5 years of the plan, the level of housebuilding in Cheshire has been high, with 2602 building completions on average each year. In 2000, 49% of new housing development was on brownfield sites.
It is estimated that there is approximately 4,409 hectares of derelict, underused and neglected land across Cheshire occupying around 668 sites. The Forestry Commission and Northwest Development Agency are embarking on a programme of environmental regeneration in the North West and this land will be reclaimed to improve it’s environmental quality.
Cheshire enjoys a rich variety of minerals, some of which have been worked in since pre-historic times. Salt was originally worked by the Romans and has since contributed to the local chemical industries in the form of brine, whilst rocksalt from Cheshire is used in the de-icing of the majority of the UK’s roads. Cheshire also holds reserves of silica sand, which is found in only a few places in the UK, being used to supply glass-making and foundry industries. In addition, there are deposits of construction sand and gravel, sandstone, gritstone (aggregates) and peat which are worked at thirty sites across the County. Slowly, markets for recycled aggregates are being established, with a view to reducing the amount of waste being disposed of whilst reducing the quantity of new aggregates being extracted.
The afteruse or restoration of mineral workings within Cheshire provides a variety of opportunities for habitat creation, agriculture, forestry and recreation. Mineral voids are also used for waste disposal purposes and salt cavities are increasingly being used for the storage of gas. Increasingly, pressure is being placed to end the planning permissions of mineral operations that are currently dormant but could, if re-commenced, have a significant environmental impact. Established mineral operations that operate under old planning permissions are being reviewed to in an attempt to reduce their future environmental impacts.
To support the UK Government Sustainable Development Strategy there is a suite of 68 national sustainable development indicators.
For information on national indicators, visit the governments sustainable development website
In an effort to put the UK’s progress in sustainable development into an international context, and to highlight worldwide trends and challenges, a set of international data has been compiled to complement the 68 national indicators of sustainable development.
For more information on international indicators visit visit the governments sustainable development website
Regional indicators for the Northwest
For each Government Office region a fact sheet has been produced.
The fact sheets include pie charts that summarise the progress in indicators within the priority areas of (a) sustainable consumption and production and natural resources, and (b) sustainable communities.
For more information on regional information visit visit the governments sustainable development website
Planning in Cheshire
The Structure Plan sets out the broad planning strategy for Cheshire. It contains policies on the amount and general location of land for new homes, businesses, shops and leisure facilities. The Structure Plan is required to interpret national and regional planning guidance. It provides the strategic context for District Council’s Local Plans which contain more detailed land use policies and earmark specific sites for development. The existing Structure Plan was altered rather than replaced. The Structure Plan Alteration “Cheshire 2016” contains the proposed alterations to policy.
The New Environments via Woodland (NEWland) programme is being led by the Forestry Commission in conjunction with the North West Development Agency
Cheshire Region Local Geodiversity Acton Plan (LGAP)
Geodiversity is the variety of geological environments, phenomena and active processes that make landscapes, rocks, minerals, fossils, soils and other superficial deposits which provide the framework for life on Earth. Biodiversity relies on geodiversity. In fact geodiversity underpins biodiversity and soils are the link between them. An LGAP takes the action planning approach used for biological conservation (LBAPs) for local geological conservation. English Nature have piloted the development of LGAPs, and one pilot is being run in Cheshire.The Cheshire Region LGAP was launched in September 2003.
The State of the Countryside (2007)
The State of the Countryside report provides a unique analysis of how rural England is changing.
English Partnerships is the national catalyst or property-led regeneration and development. It works in partnership with the public, private and voluntary sectors to create new jobs and investment through sustainable economic regeneration and development in the English regions.
A Parish Plan is a critical and in depth survey of a community carried out by the community itself. The aim of the survey is to collect the views and opinions of the people who live and work in that community and from this information find out how it sees itself developing over the next 5 to 10 years. An action plan is then devised based on the community’s views, which identifies what steps the community needs to take to move itself forward from its present position to achieve its vision for the future of the community.
Village Design Statements
Using national guidance produced by the Countryside Agency called “Landscape Character Assessment for England and Scotland”, the parishes of Burwardsley, Weaverham, Kelsall and Frodsham have been producing Parish Landscape Statements. This includes a landscape type and area map of the parish, a supporting document describing the parishes landscape character and a landscape character strategy, identifying what change is desirable within the parish. For more information contact Cheshire Landscape Trust 01244 376333 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheshire Structure Plan
|Cheshire Minerals & Waste Development Framework|
British Geological Survey
|Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs|
|Communities and Local Government|
|Peak District National Park|