National Character Area 69

Trent Valley Washlands - 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: Carefully plan and manage new development within the NCA to ensure that landscape character and ecosystem services are strengthened, that heritage features, wildlife habitats, woodland and the hedgerow network are enhanced, and that opportunities for creation of multifunctional green infrastructure are realised so that this landscape is resilient to the forces of change that it is experiencing.

For example by:

  • Meeting the challenge of integrating development while enhancing the character of the Washlands, informed by local partnership visions and master planning.
  • Working with planning authorities and developers to ensure that the natural environment is enhanced and not just mitigated through new development.
  • Maximising planning gain from new development for the benefit of the natural environment and ensuring that section 106 agreements are aligned with the objectives of landscape planning and enhancement initiatives.
  • Working with the sand and gravel industry and local authorities to ensure that restoration plans are of a high quality so that biodiversity, geodiversity, landscape, access and recreation, water flow and water quality enhancements are maximised and operations are well located so that damage to archaeology and existing habitats is minimised.
  • Locating new built development within existing settlements and avoiding the valley floors and bordering slopes, and ensuring that the location, form and design of new development are guided by landscape character assessment objectives, village design guidance and design briefs and consideration of local architectural styles and materials.
  • Raising the design quality and appearance of new and existing development, including that of large shed-type warehouses, to avoid indistinctiveness and visual intrusion and to seek high-quality design such as that of the listed Boots buildings, along with blending into the landscape through the use of, for example, tree planting, earthworks and green roofs.
  • Ensuring that new development is built to high environmental standards, including routine use of sustainable drainage schemes to increase the capacity of water provision and regulation services and the incorporation of green infrastructure.
  • Planning a landscape that is more resilient to development pressures and change, using woodland to screen existing negative industrial, urban and infrastructural influences such as peri-urbanisation and major roads and incorporate new development into the landscape.
  • Planning for appropriate woodland planting around settlement fringes to help to integrate new and existing modern development into the landscape while combining it with the development of green infrastructure, biomass, carbon storage and water flow and quality regulation.
  • Developing recreational resources compatible with landscape, health and environmental objectives such as the creation of circular footpaths, bridleways and cycle paths that link with public transport and local communities.
  • Providing improved information about access opportunities to local residents, workers and visitors to increase people’s understanding and enjoyment.
  • Offering local communities the opportunity to enjoy and take action to improve their local green spaces, for example by setting up ‘friends of’ groups.


SEO 2: Manage and enhance the Trent Valley Washlands’ river and flood plain landscape to combine its essential provision and regulation of water role with landscape enhancement, nature conservation, climate regulation, farming, recreation and a resource for understanding geodiversity.

For example by:

  • Reconnecting rivers with their flood plains, making space for the action of natural processes to increase flood resilience and the capacity to adapt to climate change.
  • Enhancing the mosaic of wetland and flood plain habitats, especially those alongside watercourses and including those along urban river corridors, by linking and extending existing habitats, including the interconnection of waterbodies, to improve landscape character, attenuate flood flows, improve water quality and increase their recreational value.
  • Protecting and enhancing the traditional pastoral landscape of the flood plains to benefit the water flow and quality regulation value of the Washlands through means such as the targeting of agri- environment grants and putting land in trust for future generations to appreciate.
  • Improving the climate regulation role of the flood plains through expanding areas of native woodland and semi-natural habitats such as reedbeds and other wetland habitats, which lead to the deposition of organic matter.
  • Protecting and enhancing belts of trees and riparian habitats that demarcate watercourses. Scoping and implementing opportunities to create new native woodland including possible creation at former sand and gravel extraction sites to improve landscape character and water quality and attenuate flood flows.
  • Enhancing the hedgerow and tree cover network and creating new habitat areas to increase infiltration and groundwater levels by regulating water flow across the landscape.
  • Adapting existing drainage schemes and planning for new sustainable drainage schemes to incorporate habitats and green infrastructure in order to boost water infiltration rates so as to help to maintain river levels and water quality, and also reducing abstraction needs through harvesting and storage of rainwater in situ.
  • Reducing agricultural chemical inputs to minimise risk to water quality, for example through use of crops with low fertiliser and pesticide requirements, conversion of arable to pasture, and the use of appropriate organic farming principles.
  • Maximising opportunities to sustainably use wetland habitats for food provision such as flood plain grazing marsh for cattle grazing, while conserving significant heritage features such as watermeadow systems and archaeological deposits.
  • Exploring the potential for growing of biomass crops and native woodland where appropriate with the reinstatement of active flood plains as well as opportunities for grassland harvesting to produce biogas.
  • Promoting interpretation of the biodiversity, archaeology and geodiversity interest of the River Trent and its tributaries, their evolution and the sand and gravel deposits, including the promotion of appropriate recreational activities.
  • Maximising opportunities to enhance green infrastructure along urban river corridors, including optimising the route of the Trent Valley Way and other multi-use trails to improve the network and provide a better recreational offer.
  • Working with the National Forest to maximise native woodland and tree planting opportunities, where appropriate, as well as the creation and management of other habitats and green infrastructure within the forest area, while conserving and integrating heritage assets within new schemes.
  • Controlling non-native invasive species.


SEO 3: Protect, manage and enhance the pastoral landscape of the Trent Valley Washlands, seeking to join up and expand areas of pasture and associated attributes and habitats, to preserve heritage features, enhance biodiversity and geodiversity, protect farmland and provide additional recreational opportunities.

For example by:

  • Protecting existing pasture from fragmentation and loss to other uses such as arable cropping, development and gravel extraction, particularly riverside meadows and those with historical and geomorphological features and remains.
  • Re-creating more permanent grassland, especially in the flood plains, to join up with other pasture and restore the characteristic secluded ‘meadow’ landscapes along the riversides as well as to benefit the management of water resources in the Washlands.
  • Converting arable land use to pasture such as marginal arable land prone to flood damage where pasture and livestock production would be a better use of the land, in order to enhance landscape character and strengthen ecosystem services, including raising soil organic carbon content.
  • Sustainably using wetland habitats for food provision such as flood plain grazing marsh for cattle grazing.
  • Protecting the key characteristics of the riverside pastures such as scattered riverside trees, wet grassland and the diverse range of riparian habitats, meandering river channels, wet ditches and small streams, and expanding and linking habitats together to enhance biodiversity and recreational opportunities.
  • Reinstating traditional management of the pastoral riverside landscape to enhance the sense of history, including willow pollarding along traditional boundaries, planting of black poplar and management of withy beds.
  • Maximising take-up of agri-environment schemes and other initiatives which lead to the enhancement of the landscape and ecosystem function, and seeking to build on existing habitats to create wider networks.
  • Protecting the relative tranquillity of parts of the flood plain from further intrusion by urban and industrial influences.


SEO 4: Protect and enhance the historic environment of the Trent Valley Washlands and their characteristic historic landscape. Increase awareness of the richness of this resource, protect it from neglect and physical damage, and ensure that future development complements and enhances the sense of history of the NCA.

For example by:

  • Protecting sense of history in the landscape from inappropriate development including that which adversely affects the setting of historic features.
  • Enhancing sense of history through native woodland screen planting of existing indistinctive development influences on the landscape, where appropriate, and promoting the highest standards of design quality and appearance of new development, ensuring that it is sensitively located and integrated with the landscape.
  • Protecting archaeological remains and geomorphological features from mineral extraction by influencing the siting of workings, and in all workings ensuring that opportunities to document record and interpret features and remains are maximised. While much is recorded or sometimes retrieved through excavations, permanent loss of features and the historical environment inevitably results.
  • Restoring and managing hedgerows where they have been lost, to strengthen the historical field patterns, improve wildlife networks and enhance landscape character, especially important historic hedgerows such as the sinuous boundaries where mixed-species hedgerows define the flood plain and areas of earlier enclosure.
  • Positively managing and enhancing the distinctive historic landscapes, such as historic parklands and some pastoral areas, as well as protecting the many Listed Buildings and Scheduled Monuments while promoting public awareness, accessibility and recreational value.
  • Conserving and enhancing heritage features that tell the story of the working past of the rivers and canals of the Washlands and raising public awareness of this history.
  • Retaining and enhancing the historic settlement pattern and local architectural character through informed planning and development control based on an understanding of local character, and using this to inspire and influence any new built development.
  • Reducing cultivation damage to archaeology and geodiversity by encouraging best practice such as direct drilling and shallow tilling, and also seeking opportunities to protect archaeology through reversion of arable land to pasture.
  • Promoting wider awareness of the historic environment to encourage its enjoyment, understanding and protection and, where possible, providing improved public access to sites of historic interest.

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