National Character Area 142

Somerset Levels and Moors - Landscape Change

Monitoring Landscape Change

Drivers for change
The Somerset Levels and Moors is a flat landscape of rivers and coastal wetlands, which contrasts the open, often treeless, landscape of the inland Moors, and is subject to climate and development pressures. Prolonged periods of increased rainfall increases risks of flooding which may impact crops and wildlife as well as floodwater coverage, which can lead to increased soil erosion and reduction in soil quality. Development growth around Weston Super Mare and pressure to develop wind turbines in exposed onshore areas may also impact the character of the landscape.

Monitoring landscape change
The most recent monitoring of landscape change within NCAs forms part of the Outcome Indicator Framework for the 25 Year Environment Plan. This includes indicator G1: Changes in landscape and waterscape character, informed by indicator component G1a: Changes in the landscape characteristics of NCAs in England.

Indicator component G1a measures the extent to which landscape change is achieving the aspirational landscape outcomes described in the NCA Statements of Environmental Opportunity (SEOs). For this purpose, SEOs across all NCAs are distilled into 34 Super Landscape Objectives (SLOs).

NCAs with broadly similar character and pressures for change have been grouped into 18 sub-Agricultural Landscape Types (sub-ALTs) that represent rural, urban and coastal landscapes. Equal numbers of relevant SLOs were identified for monitoring within each sub-ALT and their associated NCAs. These SLOs were assessed based on changes between 2015 – 2019 (or the closest approximations to those dates with the data available). The results of each SLO were combined to form an integrated view of overall landscape change within each NCA during this time period.

For further details on this landscape monitoring, refer to the G1a Landscape Change Atlas and report, which are available via the Landscape Change Evidence Hub.

Results of G1a: Changes in the landscape characteristics within this NCA
Listed below are:

  • the overall trend for this NCA
  • the results of the underlying analysis for each of the individual Super Landscape Objectives considered relevant to the NCA; this includes the ‘provisional status’ (i.e. current understanding of state/condition) and the ‘change trend’ associated with each SLO.

The following SLOs are considered relevant to this NCA. The current provisional status of each objective and the assessment of change (expressed as a trend) is listed below. The overall integrated trend assessment is also listed.