National Character Area 22

Pennine Dales Fringe - 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: Protect and connect native broadleaved woodland, parkland and veteran trees to maximise their value for wildlife, flood risk alleviation, water quality, climate regulation, recreation, sense of place and sense of history.

For example by:

  • Protecting, managing and expanding ancient woodland sites, linking isolated fragments where possible.
  • Restoring plantations on ancient woodland sites and restocking conifer plantations with broadleaves.
  • Conserving and managing historic parklands, including: appropriate management of ancient and veteran trees; retention of deadwood fauna and flora; establishment of new generations of trees appropriate for each parkland’s historic character; and provision of access and opportunities for engagement where appropriate.
  • Communicating the importance of sympathetic management of veteran trees on both arable and pastoral land, and encouraging the planting of replacement in-field and boundary trees.
  • Targeting new woodland planting to locations where it can help to reduce flood risk (such as along the Ure and Swale rivers), reduce soil erosion and water pollution (particularly around the Tees and Nidd rivers and Oak Beck), buffer/connect existing woodland and enhance tranquillity, and where it will not have a negative impact on archaeology, priority habitats/species (such as wading birds) or amenity value. Links that allow species to move from lower to higher ground may be particularly valuable under a changing climate.
  • Encouraging planting of native broadleaved woodland for timber and biomass where possible, ensuring that woodlands contribute to biodiversity and landscape character and do not undermine archaeology or priority species of open ground.
  • Where conifers are planted, encouraging incorporation of broadleaved species in key areas to maximise their wildlife and landscape value.
  • Encouraging use of best practice forestry techniques, and practices such as providing continuous vegetation cover especially on sites at particularly high risk of soil erosion or causing pollution of watercourses.
  • Encouraging positive management of existing woodland to provide woody biomass, where this is consistent with nature conservation objectives.
  • Providing public access for quiet recreation in new woodlands and opportunities for community engagement in development of the new woodlands.
  • Using by-products from timber processing for energy generation, where appropriate.


SEO 2: Encourage management of farmland to retain the pastoral and mixed agricultural character and to benefit biodiversity and the wider environment while maximising the value of food production.

For example by:

  • Encouraging farmers to follow best farming practice, particularly in relation to soil quality, soil carbon, soil erosion and pesticide/nutrient use, in order to increase soil carbon stores, improve water quality, reduce soil erosion and flood risk, and safeguard long-term food provision.
  • Encouraging farmers to retain and sympathetically manage (semi) natural features and habitats such as hedges and ponds in the lowlands to the east and drystone walls and field barns in the uplands to the west, for their contribution to sense of place, sense of history, biodiversity and geodiversity.
  • Protecting permanent pasture, particularly in the mixed farming areas to the east.
  • Encouraging farmers to create buffer strips of grassland and woodland along watercourses to protect water quality and strengthen habitat networks, particularly where this will enable species to move from lower to higher ground in response to climatic changes.
  • Encouraging farmers to manage moorland habitats to maintain vegetative cover and peat soils, and to manage grassland around the moorland to provide good conditions for wading bird populations.
  • Encouraging farmers to use modern technology and techniques (such as precision farming, controlled farm traffic, minimum tillage techniques) that help to protect agricultural soils, match nutrient application to crop demand and reduce the risk of environmental pollution/damage while optimising food production.
  • In cases of severe soil erosion, encouraging conversion to practices such as spring (rather than winter) cropping, minimum tillage techniques and reversion of arable land to grassland.
  • Encouraging less frequent cutting of hedges and managing the timing of cuts to road verges to allow more profuse flowering, thereby supporting more nectar-feeding insects (including pollinators and beneficial predator species), and providing fruit for insects, birds and mammals over winter.
  • Encouraging the use of native breeds for grazing on semi-natural habitats of marginal agricultural productivity, where this will enhance biodiversity interest.
  • Supporting farmers to produce food from local breeds and link it to the distinctive characteristics of the area to market their products.


SEO 3: Protect the area’s rich historic environment and geodiversity and manage development pressure to preserve tranquillity, sense of place and sense of history, and to enhance recreational opportunities.

For example by:

  • Protecting the unity of the built environment, particularly in conservation areas and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, by encouraging use of local and traditional materials and techniques, while allowing for innovative and sustainable design.
  • Conserving and managing historic parkland, to maintain the historic integrity of the designed landscape while also providing opportunities for new uses and public access.
  • Ensuring conservation, sympathetic management and high-quality interpretation of geological sites, and identification and designation of Local Geological Sites.
  • Ensuring sympathetic management and high-quality interpretation of buildings and sites of historical interest, while recognising the high potential in this area for undiscovered archaeological remains.
  • Encouraging retention and good management of grassland over archaeological earthworks.
  • Protecting the significant concentrations of prehistoric carved rocks in the south-east upland of the NCA.
  • Protecting the most tranquil areas from intrusion and inappropriate development.
  • Managing increasing traffic levels to minimise intrusion through noise pollution and risk to other road users.
  • Supporting improvement of communication links, particularly broadband, to maximise possibilities for people to work from home rather than commuting by car.
  • Encouraging incorporation of features into new development which will help with adaptation to climate change and ensure efficient use of energy and other resources, such as renewable energy, trees for shading and rainwater harvesting.
  • Planning for new development to include rainwater harvesting systems and other features to minimise water use.
  • Encouraging appropriate retrofitting of features to existing development to maximise efficiency of water and energy use.
  • Planning for appropriate tourism-related development to encourage sustainable use of the NCA, which minimises intrusion, disturbance and traffic while increasing understanding and enjoyment of the area’s special qualities.
  • Managing increasing traffic levels, particularly around towns/cities and on minor roads, to minimise risk to recreational road users (walkers, cyclists and horse riders).
  • Enhancing provision of new off-road linear and circular routes suitable for horses, cyclists and walkers, and increasing promotion of existing and new routes to further promote outdoor recreation in the area.
  • Seeking to further improve and protect water quality, particularly in the main rivers, to enhance the enjoyment and safety of recreational river users.
  • Facilitating local businesses in using the special qualities of the area to market their tourism, food and craft products.


SEO 4: Protect and enhance the area’s many major rivers, riparian habitats and wetlands to reduce flood risk, improve water quality and conserve the valuable contribution they make to sense of place, biodiversity, recreation and sense of history.

For example by:

  • Creating flood storage areas and establishing water-holding habitats such as wet woodland, ponds and other wetlands, where they can deliver benefits for pollution reduction, flood risk alleviation, biodiversity and landscape character.
  • Protecting existing flood plains and, where feasible, seeking to reconnect them to their rivers and allow watercourses to return to more natural courses, allowing new freshwater habitats to develop and reducing the energy of the water flows.
  • Encouraging adoption of good soil management and good farming practice that reduce soil erosion/sedimentation, chemical and nutrient run-off, and risk of pollution incidents.
  • Supporting and encouraging the creation of grass/woodland buffer strips, in-field grass strips, sediment traps, ponds and wetland habitats to slow run-off and intercept sediments and pollutants from farmland, especially in arable areas in the east.
  • Encouraging industry to update and improve infrastructure to minimise risks of pollution incidents.
  • Protecting and sympathetically managing the many historic structures associated with the NCA’s rivers such as mill buildings, bridges and water control structures.
  • Removing structures, where possible, that limit movement of fish up river corridors, or installing features such as fish passes to enable fish migration.
  • Planning for inclusion of sustainable drainage systems in new development and retrofitting of features to existing development, where possible.
  • Enhancing and connecting semi-natural habitats in river corridors to improve the wildlife movement corridors between lowland and upland.
  • Encouraging action on a catchment scale to slow run-off and store rainwater, thereby reducing peak flooding events and the erosive force of major rivers. Contributions can be made within the NCA, particularly along the Ure and Swale rivers, but the main opportunities lie upstream of the NCA in the Pennines, particularly for tree planting and increasing surface vegetation roughness to slow run-off and increase infiltration.

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