National Character Area 40

Holderness - Detailed Statements of Environmental Opportunity

This section expands on the Headline Statements of Environmental Opportunity and provides further detail on each of the Statements of Environmental Opportunity.


SEO 1: Conserve, manage and enhance the River Hull and associated river system with its many associated drains, dykes and streams to improve water quality and supply, sustainably address flood risk management, and enhance biodiversity and the historic environment through a strategic, landscape-scale approach.

For example by:

  • Maintaining and improving water quality and provision from the chalk aquifer by working with landowners and farmers to adopt sustainable farming practices that will improve filtration into the ground and reduce nutrient run-off by creating a network of meadow grasslands including grass field margins and grass buffers to watercourses and areas of open water.
  • Encouraging the growth of crops that require less irrigation and increase on-farm water storage.
  • Managing the network of drains, ditches and dykes on rotation so that they continue to function while retaining vegetation to form effective habitats for species such as water voles, thus providing links between wetland and other semi-natural habitats, improving water quality and preserving key landscape features.
  • Ensuring that the small number of drains, ditches or dykes in the National Character Area (NCA) that are monastic in origin are managed in such a way as to preserve their archaeological value.
  • Seeking opportunities to increase and link wetland habitats within the River Hull corridor including open water, reedbed, fen and wet grassland.
  • Seeking opportunities to maintain and increase flood plain grazing marsh owing to its role in storing carbon, ensuring that sites are managed to enhance their biodiversity value.
  • Encouraging agricultural practices such as planting winter cover crops, in-field grass areas to prevent run-off, permanent grassland with low inputs, and buffer strips on cultivated land adjacent to watercourses, improving infiltration of rainwater.
  • Where feasible, through partnership, seeking opportunities to support habitat enhancement and wildlife opportunities, managing flood risk and avoiding saline intrusion in relevant areas by creating permanent grassland, wet grassland and wet woodlands, and expanding or creating flood storage areas.
  • Seeking opportunities to create woodland to reduce flood flows.
  • Seeking opportunities to develop joint strategies in relation to the delivery of the Shoreline Management Plan and Catchment Flood Management Plan, ensuring that flood risk from the coast and waterways inland is managed effectively and protecting settlements within the Hull and Coastal Streams Catchment.
  • Encouraging nature conservation management and the conservation of geological features of ex-gravel and borrow pits alongside their other uses, which include recreation.


SEO 2: Work with landowners and land managers to support sustainable food production while enhancing and strengthening the network of farmland features; create and expand habitats in the farmed environment to enhance biodiversity and improve soil and water quality; strengthen resilience of habitats to climate change; and enhance landscape character.

For example by:

  • Encouraging cultivation practices that will benefit wildlife such as farmland bird species (grey partridge, skylark, barn owl, corn bunting, yellowhammer, linnet and tree sparrow) as well as pollinating insects by adopting land management interventions such as fallow within rotations, overwintering stubbles, uncropped field margins, creating pollen and nectar strips, and planting bird seed mixtures.
  • Taking opportunities to reduce habitat fragmentation by creating networks, corridors and stepping stones of semi-natural habitats, increasing the resilience of species and habitats to climate change, notably by creating more hedgerows on higher ground and pasture land, managing flood plain grazing marsh, and creating buffer strips of permanent grassland alongside watercourses as well as pollen and nectar strips.
  • Working with landowners and farmers to create marginal habitats around designated sites such as reedbed, fen and carr woodland.
  • Ensuring that all existing woodlands are brought under sound management and that those with links to ancient woodlands are managed to improve their biodiversity and heritage interest.
  • Developing an integrated package of catchment sensitive farming initiatives along the River Hull including the chalk streams of the Yorkshire Wolds to benefit the local farming community and encourage best practice.
  • Improving soil and crop management by encouraging the practice of increasing green cover crops such as grasslands on cultivated or bare soil and field margins and adopting appropriate grazing regimes on soils that are vulnerable to compaction.
  • Seeking opportunities, notably along the River Hull and the surrounding flood plain and in and around Hornsea, to extend unimproved species-rich grassland and other riparian habitats around key waterways and designated sites, thereby improving water quality and providing wildlife corridors for water voles and bird species including wading birds such as lapwing, snipe and redshank, and other bird species such as yellow wagtail and sedge warbler.
  • Seeking new opportunities with landowners and the aggregates industry to maintain and create more wetland habitats associated with sand, gravel and chalk quarries which make a positive contribution to biodiversity, geodiversity and landscape character.


SEO 3: Allow essential coastal processes to occur, including erosion of the soft clay cliffs, while respecting policies that reduce erosion and flood risk in relation to key coastal settlements.

For example by:

  • Responding to rising sea levels, storm events and flooding by promoting coastal adaptation measures and supporting planning policies that avoid development in flood-prone areas.
  • On undefended coastlines (where the policy is ‘No Active Intervention’), allowing natural processes to occur so that sediment can provide natural sea defences at Spurn, in the Humber Estuary and on the Lincolnshire coast. This also creates important habitats such as salt marsh, mud and sand flats.
  • Seeking opportunities to study post-glacial meres on the Holderness plain to gain an understanding of post-glacial environments before the coastline encroaches.
  • Supporting existing partnerships that are working to maintain the high standard of bathing waters in the NCA.
  • Ensuring that the expansion of gas pipelines or development of renewable energy schemes is carefully managed to avoid reducing rates of erosion, and to achieve minimum disturbance to marine life and impact on seascape views.


SEO 4: Enhance people’s understanding and enjoyment of the geodiversity, historic sites, seaside character and remoteness that contribute to the varied sense of place and valuable recreational assets that the area provides.

For example by:

  • Working with local communities and schools to interpret the area’s historic landscapes: its glacial history of moraine ridges, kettle holes and sediments at Dimlington and Withow Gap; the post-glacial history of the meres; evidence of medieval settlements along the coast (Skipsea Castle, Meux Cistercian Abbey and Watton Gilbertine Priory); and its First and Second World War coastal defences.
  • Appropriately managing the historic environment for its contribution to local character and sense of identity and as a framework for habitat restoration and sustainable development.
  • Conserving and interpreting archaeological earthworks and sub-surface archaeology, while recognising the high potential for undiscovered remains in this area.
  • Seeking opportunities to enable local communities and visitors to enjoy access to the coast and recreation there, including provision of good facilities at its resorts and access to its geological heritage, eroding coastline and wildlife.
  • Ensuring that significant built developments do not adversely impact on the open character of the area, helping to maintain viewpoints where there are strong visual links between the chalk ridge of the Wolds and the Holderness plateau as well as sea views from coastal areas.
  • Ensuring that woodland planting schemes and biomass crops are carefully located, considering archaeological potential as well as impacts on long, open views.
  • Seeking opportunities to work with the farming community by encouraging the maintenance and creation of semi-natural habitats that contribute natural features to the rural landscape, thereby helping to maintain the high levels of tranquillity found in the rural areas that are associated with farmed landscapes away from larger settlements.
  • Using understanding of the area’s traditional and historic architecture, and its distinct patterns of settlement, to inform appropriate conservation and use of historic buildings, and to plan for and inspire any environmentally beneficial new development which makes a positive contribution to local character and retains key views.
  • Carefully ensuring that light spill is minimised through lighting design in new developments to minimise the impact on dark skies.


SEO 5: Improve access to public enjoyment of the open, rural landscape, the coast and wildlife by improving green infrastructure links between urban and rural/coastal areas and within urban settlements.

For example by:

  • Seeking opportunities to improve access to the natural environment from urban areas by identifying new permissive routes and improving existing rights of way networks to link to the countryside and to coastal resorts.
  • Developing initiatives to encourage local communities, particularly in deprived areas, to enjoy their local green space, to take action to improve it and to benefit from the recreation and health benefits that it affords them, including providing wildlife corridors to improve the resilience of species to climate change.
  • Incorporating green spaces in new developments such as around the urban fringe of Hull and areas within Bridlington, Hornsea and Withernsea, ensuring a connection of green spaces with semi-natural habitats to benefit wildlife while providing communities with recreational green space.
  • Seeking opportunities for community engagement to expand woodland cover in appropriate areas and increase public accessibility to existing woodlands such as Burton Bushes in Beverley Westwood.
  • Exploring the potential to develop shorter circular routes linked to existing cycle routes, bridleways and strategic routes.

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