4. Protecting and Enhancing the Environment


"Management of the District's Environmental Resources"

The policies in this chapter aim to protect the distinctive environmental assets of West Lancashire. The policies support the Government's approach to planning which is to achieve, now and in the future, economic development to secure higher living standards while protecting and enhancing the environment. Active management of environmental resources is also a key feature of the Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West and the Joint Lancashire Structure Plan.


 This chapter builds upon one of the key aims of West Lancashire's Community Strategy: to improve our urban and rural surroundings, and enhance the diversity of our landscape and wildlife habitats to give an attractive environment for ourselves, our visitors and investors. The policies are based as far as possible on the results of consultation on planning issues which showed that people felt that more could be done to protect the District's landscape, biodiversity and historic features.They also reflect the strong support for directing development away from flood risk areas and the best and most versatile agricultural land.

POLICY EN1 - Biodiversity View Map of this site ?

The biodiversity of the District will be protected by not allowing development which would destroy or adversely affect important wildlife habitats or geological sites. Development which returns key biodiversity resources to viable levels, by promoting restoration, and re-establishment of habitats and species populations in accordance with National and Local Biodiversity Action Plans, is encouraged.

A. Nature Conservation Sites

In particular, the strongest possible protection will be given to Ramsar Sites, Special Protection Areas, Candidate Special Areas of Conservation and European Protected Species.

In the case of National Nature Reserves or Sites of Special Scientific Interest, only development serving an overriding national public need which cannot be located elsewhere will be considered but mitigation measures and compensatory habitat creation will be required.

In County Biological Heritage Sites, Local Nature Reserves, Regionally Important Geological /Geomorphological Sites and Local Nature Conservation Sites, only development which is required to meet an overriding local public need will be considered but mitigation measures and compensatory habitat creation will be required.

Presently designated sites are shown on the Proposals Map.

The nature conservation policies referred to above apply not only to development in or on nature conservation sites, but also to development elsewhere that may indirectly affect such sites. Where development is allowed, planning conditions or obligations will be used to protect or enhance sites’ nature conservation interest.

B. Wildlife Corridors

Development will not be permitted which would destroy or significantly impair the integrity of the Wildlife Corridors shown on the Proposals Map, by:-

  1. resulting in the loss of the undeveloped open character of the Wildlife Corridor;
  2. reducing the width or causing direct or indirect severance of a Wildlife Corridor;
  3. restricting the potential for lateral movement of wildlife;
  4. causing the degradation of the ecological functions of the Wildlife Corridor;
  5. directly or indirectly damaging or severing links between Green Spaces, Wildlife Corridors and the open countryside; or
  6. restricting public access to a Wildlife Corridor.

Development may be permitted where it will provide a substantial environmental gain to include the visual ecological or appropriate recreational functions of the Corridor.

C. Protected Species

Development will not be permitted which may destroy or have an adverse effect, either directly or indirectly, on:-

  1. Badgers;
  2. Species protected by Schedules 1 (Birds), 5 (Animals) or 8 (Plants) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended, and Schedules 2 & 4 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994; or
  3. Habitats that support these species at any time of the year.
NB. This policy covers all the sites and corridors shown on the Proposals Map and any that may be identified in the future.

Justification of Policy EN1

This policy reflects the need for strong protection for the most important sites for nature conservation in the District and recognises the need for a sustainable approach to development. The Countryside Act 1968 gives Local Authorities a duty to have regard for the conservation of flora, fauna, geological and physiographical features in urban and rural areas. Central Government Guidance (PPS9) requires local authorities to take account of nature conservation in assessing sites for development proposals. The Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West places a strong emphasis on protecting sites with international and national nature conservation designations and ensuring that there is no net loss in the value of other biodiversity resources.The Joint Lancashire Structure Plan also seeks to protect Lancashire's natural heritage. 


The designated Nature Conservation Sites in West Lancashire, apart from the Ribble Estuary, occupy a very small part of the District. The Council is able to meet the major development requirements for the area within the Plan period without conflicting with these sites. Because of development and the intensity of agriculture in the District, areas of semi-natural habitat assume greater importance than in parts of the country with less intense agriculture and more abundant semi-natural habitat. It is therefore important that damaging development is directed away from sensitive sites. PPS9 states that Local Authorities should have regard for the relative significance of designations in considering the weight to be attached to nature conservation interests. A list of nature conservation sites in West Lancashire, including their designations and grid references, is contained in Appendix C of this Plan. 


Developers are reminded that the more important the site (category (i) sites such as Ramsars being the most important), the more weight will be given to the nature conservation interest of the site in the determination of planning applications. The EC Habitats Directive allows exceptions to the protection of some important nature conservation sites where there is an overriding public interest. In accordance with this guidance and Structure Plan Policies, unqualified protection of all nature conservation sites is inappropriate. Developers will be required to undertake an ecological assessment if a site is ecologically sensitive.


The Council will support proposals which would increase the number, size and diversity of sites of nature conservation importance. In order to achieve this, development proposals should ensure that species and habitats set out in the UK and Local Biodiversity Action Plans will be protected, and  where possible enhanced. The Council will protect and enhance Biodiversity Action Plan species nd habitats through the use of conditions and/or planning obligations.


PPS9 (Biodiversity and Geological Conservation) and the EC Birds and Habitats Directives recognise the importance of landscape features which, because of their linear and continuous structure or their function as 'stepping stones', are essential for migration, dispersal and genetic exchange. Linear biological features can act as 'corridors' along which wildlife can move and live. Continuity is an important factor for many species; an isolated site is restricted in the range of species able to colonise it. Corridors can be damaged or rendered unviable by reduction in their width or complete severance. Direct or indirect severance can be caused by the introduction of roads, pathways, landforms, services and other constructions, and by way of changes in vegetation management within the Corridor. Restrictions of the lateral movements of wildlife or in the accessibility and safe use of the site by the public should be avoided wherever possible. This can be achieved by retaining any adjoining or nearby Corridors and avoiding the introduction of fencing or other barriers on one or both sides of the Corridor.


The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) gives special protection to certain rare or endangered birds, animals and plants. The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 gives sp ecial protection to badgers. The EC Habitats and Species Directive 92/43 EEC requires the protection of European protected species. Exceptions to the protection given by the 1981 Act occur when damaging actions are an incidental result of a lawful operation and could not reasonably have been avoided. It is therefore important to ensure that, where the presence of a specially protected species is known or considered likely, the impact of any proposed development on a species or its habitat be fully assessed prior to the determination of the planning application. Mitigation for protected species will be achieved through appropriate and enforceable planning conditions.


ODPM Circular 6/2005 (paragraph 98) states that the presence of a protected species is a material consideration when considering a development proposal which, if it were carried out, would be likely to result in harm to the species or its habitat. Endangered species protected under the 1981 Act may be found outside designated nature conservation sites. Thus, a site protection policy is not adequate to protect endangered species. Most species protected by law may occur almost anywhere, including areas of otherwise limited nature conservation value, for instance roof spaces which are inhabited by bats.


The Landscape and Wildlife Assessment identifies that the District is home to a number of species protected by the various schedules of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Some of these species are nationally rare or threatened and this policy recognises the need to protect their habitats. Some species may use only one type of habitat all year; others will need different habitats to support themselves at different times of the year. Such habitats will include ponds and adjacent covered areas for amphibians, nesting sites and associated hunting grounds for barn owls, and hibernation sites and feeding areas for bats. Red Squirrels are a particularly important species in West Lancashire where, in addition to Cumbria, national efforts are being concentrated to prevent its extinction in England. It is important that the various needs of the species are acknowledged so that the full range of habitats required can be protected and, where possible, extended and/or enhanced.

Background Documents for Policy EN1

Planning Policy Statement 9 Nature Conservation ODPM Circular 6/2005 /DEFRA Circular 1/2005: Biodiversity and Geological Conservation - Statutory Obligations and their impact within the Planning System 


Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy ER5 Biodiversity and Nature Conservation 


Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 21 Lancashire's Natural and Manmade Heritage 

Sub Regional 

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006

  • Environment 


POLICY EN2 - Protection of Agricultural Land View Map of this site ?

Development of the best and most versatile agricultural land (Grades 1,2 & 3a) will not be permitted unless it can be demonstrated that no suitable site is available to accommodate the development on:-

  1. Previously developed land; or
  2. Land within the boundaries of an existing urban area, unless the land is allocated for another purpose or has an environmental designation.
Where development of agricultural land is unavoidable, the lowest available grade land will be used except where this is inconsistent with other sustainability considerations or the need for, and benefits of, the development, outweigh the agricultural considerations.

 Justification of Policy EN2

Agricultural land throughout the country is graded to a standard classification system by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. There are five main grades of agricultural land with grades 1, 2 and 3a being the best and most versatile land. PPS7 'Sustainable Development in Rural Areas' confirms that the presence of the best and most versatile land should be taken account of alongside other sustainability considerations. The District contains a very large proportion of land of high agricultural value and Map 3 shows the broad extent of this land. Some 72% of the agricultural land is graded 1 and 2 (compared with 14% in Lancashire and 18% nationally). A further 14% of the District is Grade 3a.The Council attaches considerable importance to the conservation of this resource. As set out in the policies contained within PPS7, sustainability considerations include such matters as biodiversity; the quality and character of the landscape; its amenity value or heritage interest; accessibility to infrastructure, workforce and markets; maintaining viable communities; and the protection of natural resources, including soil quality.

Background Documents for Policy EN2

Planning Policy Statement 7 Sustainable Development in Rural Areas 


Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy RU1 Sustainable Agriculture 


Map 3: MAFF Land Classification Map 1969 Source: MAFF 1969

POLICY EN3 - Coastal Zone View Map of this site ?

Within the coastal zone, as defined on the Proposals Map, development will be limited to that which is essential to meet the needs of:-

  1. coastal navigation;
  2. amenity and informal recreation;
  3. tourism and leisure;
  4. flood protection;
  5. fisheries;
  6. nature conservation;
  7. and/or agriculture.
Development which would involve the loss of secondary sea embankments within the coastal zone will not be permitted.

Justification of Policy EN3

The Ribble Estuary provides habitats of national and international importance. It forms the second largest National Nature Reserve in England, and is an SSSI, Ramsar Site and Special Protection Area. The coastal zone identified on the Proposals Map extends beyond these protected habitats and represents the area within which development will be closely controlled in order to ensure that the open landscape character and nature conservation value of the Ribble Estuary is protected. The coastline in this District is undeveloped and to a large extent remote, but whilst development pressures may be limited, the landscape is very sensitive to intrusion by development. Coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to visual intrusion because of the high visibility of any development which occurs on the foreshore. Development which will have a significant effect on the natural environment of the estuary will be subject to an Environmental Assessment.


Certain uses and activities may require a coastal location i.e. tourism; recreation; mineral extraction; energy generation; waste water and sewage treatment and disposal; and developments including ports, marinas and industries importing bulky raw materials that depend on access to the sea. However, the nature of the West Lancashire coastline is such that most of the above uses would be more appropriately located within the developed coast. Before allowing such development within the coastal zone the Council must be satisfied that all the listed criteria are met. Developers will need to satisfy the Council that there is no other suitable location inland or on an area of existing developed coast including areas outside West Lancashire.


The Council, together with other local authorities and agencies, has been involved in the production and implementation of the Ribble Estuary Strategy. The overall aim of the strategy is "To sustain, enhance and improve the environment of the Ribble Estuary in order to maximise its potential for wildlife and human use". The Council positively supports the Strategy and its successful implementation, which will rely on those bodies involved with the Estuary, including this Council.


The Council will seek to ensure that the secondary sea embankments within the coastal zone be retained as important features of historic and landscape value and so as not to prejudice the future capacity of the coast to form a natural sea defence or adjust to changes 48 in conditions, without risk to life or property.


The secondary sea defences within the coastal zone are a major feature of the landscape which once had an important role in sea defence. The area is low-lying and, being adjacent to the sea, the embankments are therefore integral to the existence of this part of the District. Some of the secondary embankments are known to date back to the sixteenth century and therefore have significant historic interest. These embankments offer the only relief to the otherwise level terrain, which gives them unparalleled importance to the topography and landscape of the area. They also have a role to play as locations for informal recreation.


These embankments form a second line of defence against ingress of tidal water should the outer defence be breached or over-topped. Whilst some stretches have been removed it is considered that those that remain would still perform an important function in flood defence. Climatic change and predicted sea level rises, combined with an increase in tidal surges and increased risk of flooding, may at some point in the future cause such defences to once again become important.


Whilst the Council has limited planning controls over the removal of these sea defences, as certain operations related to agriculture do not require planning permission, part of the embankment near Banks is subject to an Article 4 Direction and the Council will seek to prevent any further removal of all secondary embankments.

Background Documents for Policy EN3

Planning Policy Guidance Note 20 Coastal Planning 


Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy CZ1 Defining the Coastal Zone
  • Policy CZ2A Coastal Development
  • Policy CZ2B Coastal Defences
  • Policy CZ3 Coastal Communities and Economic Development


Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 23 The Coastal Zone 

Sub Regional 

POLICY EN4 - Conservation Areas View Map of this site ?

The special historic or architectural interest of West Lancashire's Conservation Areas will be preserved or enhanced by:-

  1. assessing the special interest of Conservation Areas by preparing Conservation Area Appraisals and producing schemes to preserve or enhance their character and appearance;
  2. requiring all development in Conservation Areas to accord with the objective to preserve or enhance the area's character or appearance and in particular harmonise with its surroundings in terms of mass, scale, form, use of materials and overall design quality;
  3. requiring all development in Conservation Areas to retain and improve important landscape elements, including walls, trees and hedges, attractive open spaces (especially those elements which are an essential part of a setting to a historic building), traditional paving, plots and thoroughfares and natural building materials;
  4. requiring all development to respect the setting of, and important views into and out from, Conservation Areas;
  5. the refusal of applications for the demolition of buildings which make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of Conservation Areas. Where the demolition of a building would leave an unsightly gap in a built-up frontage, any consent would be conditional on the building not being demolished before a contract for carrying out work of redevelopment to a high standard of design is made, and for which planning permission has been granted;
  6. not permitting development which would have a detrimental effect upon trees or important green or open spaces, or require the removal of trees which make a significant contribution to a Conservation Area.
N.B. Although the Conservation Area boundaries shown on the Proposals Map were accurate when this Plan was printed, the Council has a statutory duty to review the character and appearance of its Conservation Areas from time to time, in order that an Area's status can be justified. This may involve some variation in Conservation Area boundaries. Up-to-date plans and details are available from the Council's Conservation Officer.

Justification of Policy EN4

Local Authorities have a duty to designate as Conservation Areas any "areas of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance" and to formulate and publish proposals for their preservation and enhancement. The Council has designated 28 Conservation Areas and has currently prepared appraisals and enhancement schemes for 13 of these areas.


The Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West recognises the contribution that historic areas make to the distinctiveness of the North West. In particular it states that local authorities should exploit the regeneration potential of the traditional architecture of villages and market towns in Lancashire.


The Council considers that it is important to maintain and improve wherever possible the character of its Conservation Areas, and that control of new development is one of the key factors in achieving this objective. The Council will therefore endeavour to ensure that few development uses designs and materials which are traditional to, and in keeping with, the particular locality. New development should be well designed in its own right so that it contributes positively to the local environment. This policy will be implemented through the Council's powers to control development, and by the production of appraisals and proposalsfor preserving and enhancing the Conservation Areas in  West Lancashire.



Proposed developments in Conservation Areas will generally be scrutinised more carefully than elsewhere and the Council will often be unable to decide upon the acceptability of the principle of a development without full details. The Council will therefore ask for Design Statements including detailed plans and drawings of the proposed development in its setting, instead of giving permission in outline form. Particular attention will be given to such matters is bulk, height, materials, colour, vertical or horizontal emphasis, design and landscaping. The Council will continue to operate the Conservation Area Advisory Panel and seek their views, where appropriate, on development which affects Conservation Areas.


Designation of Conservation Areas does not in itself mean that the Council has full control over development, as "permitted development" can still take place and cause significant damage to their character and appearance. This has been recognised by the English Historic Towns Forum and by English Heritage which has initiated a campaign called "Framing Opinions" to protect traditional doors and windows. One way to increase control is for the Council to make an Article 4 Direction which can withdraw any specified permitted development.


It is important to keep historic buildings in Conservation Areas in productive use, and this will often require them to be converted, altered or extended. The Council will endeavour to ensure that any such works do not detract from the historic character of the building and area, and that, where appropriate, they enhance it.


Any works to buildings within a Conservation Area will only be approved subject to a pre-determination assessment and evaluation, or subject to a condition requiring a programme of building recording or other archaeological work being carried out.


The character and appearance of a Conservation Area can be affected by development within it, and also by developments outside the designated area but visible from it. The approaches to Conservation Areas, and particularly the fringes of village Conservation Areas, are vital to one's perception of the character of Conservation Areas. The Council therefore will not interpret Conservation Area legislation too narrowly, but will give special consideration to proposals around Conservation Areas as well as those within them.


The character of the Conservation Areas will almost always be largely created by the quality of the buildings within them. There will therefore be a presumption in favour of their retention. However, if an overwhelming case is put forward for demolition of a building on the grounds that its structural condition makes it impractical to retain it, its demolition may be allowed provided that the Council is also assured that it will be immediately replaced by a development of suitable quality. Any application to demolish an unattractive building is likely to be allowed, again provided that its demolition does not result in an unsightly gap in a built-up frontage.


Trees make a vital contribution to the character of Conservation Areas and are given special protection by legislation. Owners are required to give the Council six weeks' notice of any intention to carry out work to trees in Conservation Areas. If the Council considers that the works are unnecessary and would damage the character of the Conservation Area then it will give serious consideration to making a Tree Preservation Order to prevent, or at least control, the works.

Background Documents for Policy EN4

Planning Policy Guidance Note 15 Planning and the Historic Environment 


Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy ER1 Management of the North West's Natural, Built and Historic Environment
  • Policy ER3 Built Heritage
  • Policy ER4 Contribution of Built Heritage to Regeneration


Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 21 Lancashire's Natural and Manmade Heritage 

Sub Regional 

POLICY EN5 - Buildings of Historic Importance View Map of this site ?

The total or substantial demolition of any Listed Building will not be permitted unless there is clear and convincing evidence that:

  1. an assessment shows that it is not economically viable to retain the building. Any such assessment should include details of the condition of the building, the cost of repairing and maintaining, and the value derived from its future use. Any such assessment should be based on consistent and long-term assumptions and should take account of the possibility of tax allowances, exemptions and possible grant aid; and
  2. all reasonable efforts have been made, without success, to continue the present use or find compatible alternative uses for the building; and
  3. alternative proposals for the site would bring substantial benefits for the community by contributing to the economic regeneration or environmental improvement which would decisively outweigh the loss resulting from demolition.

Work involving substantial alterations, including the partial demolition of a Listed building, will only be granted consent, or recommended, where it can be proved that the relevant part of the Listed Building is a later addition of no intrinsic architectural or historic interest, or where its poor structural condition requires that it be rebuilt.

Applications for works to repair, improve, alter, extend, or change the use of Listed Buildings will only be allowed if:-

  1. they do not detract from the special architectural and historic interest of the building including their interiors or other buildings within their curtilage; and 
  2. they respect the existing character and function of the original building in terms of either their mass, scale, form, design quality, appearance and materials.

Applications for planning permission /Listed Building Consent will only be approved if they will not have a detrimental effect upon the setting of the Listed Building.

Applications for planning permission which affect buildings which are of local architectural or historic interest will only be approved if they incorporate measures to secure the preservation of original features of architectural or historic significance.


Justification of Policy EN5

Historic buildings are a finite, diminishing, and yet valuable resource and there is therefore a presumption in favour of them being retained. The Secretary of State will not be prepared to grant Listed Building Consent for the total or substantial demolition of a Listed Building unless satisfied that every effort has been made to save it. The Secretary of State would normally expect to see evidence that the freehold of the building has been offered for sale on the open market. Even if no use or buyer is found in the first instance, the Council will consider whether the building can be made secure and wind and water-tight, and effectively "mothballed" until circumstances change to make its sale or use possible.


A wide range of legislation exists within the Planning Acts for the management of Listed Buildings:-

  1. to require owners to repair their historic buildings;
  2. to enable the Council to compulsorily purchase Listed Buildings;
  3. to enable Councils to carry out emergency repairs to Listed Buildings and recover the cost from owners;
  4. to correct any unauthorised and unsuitable alterations; and
  5. to seek the prosecution of those responsible for causing damage to Listed Buildings.
  6. The Secretary of State expects Local Authorities to make diligent use of all the powers
  7. available to them, and the Council will do so where appropriate.

The cost of repairing and improving Listed Buildings is often considerably higher than that for non-listed buildings, because of the need to use special materials and techniques. Nevertheless, this extra cost can be justified as it means that traditional techniques, materials and buildings are retained as examples for the benefit of the public. Subject to the availability of finance, a system of Listed Building Grants will be administered in accordance with an approved set of guidelines, with the particular objective of encouraging the use of traditional techniques and materials in circumstances where their use can only be achieved by persuasion.


Historic buildings have a range of values including aesthetic, academic and practical. Securing the retention of each particular value for future generations may result in certain conflicts of interest. Whilst conflicting interests need to be carefully considered and balanced, the need to retain historic fabric in situ as an archival resource will generally take precedence. In order to guide owners of historic buildings, their agents and contractors, the Council has prepared a Supplementary Planning Guidance Leaflet, "Specification Requirements for Work to Listed Buildings and Historic Buildings in Conservation Areas", which will be issued with Listed Building Consent, and Local Authority Searches on such buildings. The Council will expect all work to be carried out in accordance with this leaflet, which is based largely on national advice given by English Heritage. The Council will continue to operate the Conservation Area Advisory Panel and seek their views, where appropriate, on development which affects Listed Buildings.


The Council will prepare and maintain a register of buildings of local or historic interest which merit special consideration in the exercise of the development control process. To be included on the local list a building should satisfy criterion i) and either ii) or iii).

  1. Authenticity - the building shall be substantially unaltered and retain the majority of its original features; and either
  2. Architectural significance - the building shall be of recognised architectural quality or time period, a good example of a vernacular style or display good innovation or craftsmanship; or
  3. Historical - the building shall display physical evidence of periods of local economic or social significance, well known local historic events, people or designers.

The normal permitted development rights, including demolition, exist for buildings which are on the register of buildings of local architectural or historic interest, as they are not subject to the tight controls afforded by the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (unless they also happen to be in a Conservation Area). However, in seeking to achieve the successful implementation of this policy through persuasion, education and the development control process, the Council will consider the appropriateness of making 54 Article 4 Directions to withdraw certain permitted development rights.


Background Documents for Policy EN5

Planning Policy Guidance Note 15 Planning and the Historic Environment Planning Policy Guidance Note 16 Archaeology
Buildings at Risk – The Register 2005 (English Heritage) 


Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West Policy ER1 Management of the North West's Natural, Built and Historic Environment
Policy ER3 Built Heritage
Policy ER4 Contribution of Built Heritage to Regeneration 


Joint Lancashire Structure Plan Policy 21 Lancashire's Natural and Manmade Heritage

Sub Regional 

POLICY EN6 - Archaeological Heritage View Map of this site ?

The archaeological heritage of West Lancashire will be preserved and enhanced by the following:-

  1. Planning permission will be refused for development which would destroy or adversely affect the site or setting of a Scheduled Ancient Monument, as set out below and shown on the Proposals Map, or other monuments of national importance. Permission for development will be refused where the Council considers there would be unacceptable damage to a known site of archaeological interest or where inadequate provision has been made in the development proposals for the preservation, investigation and recording of an archaeological site.
  2. Planning permission will be granted for development which results in the physical preservation of nationally important archaeological remains and their settings. Where appropriate the Council will impose conditions to secure the enhancement, public access and interpretation of sites, buildings, structures and works of national importance, whether scheduled or not, and will seek to preserve other sites, buildings, structures, works and landscapes of significant archaeological interest, including those of industrial archaeological interest.
  3. Development proposals will be expected to take full account of their effect on sites of national or local archaeological interest. In cases where the proposed development could adversely affect known or potential sites, structures, landscapes, buildings or areas of archaeological interest and their settings, the Council will require an assessment, or if necessary a field evaluation, of the archaeological resource to demonstrate that archaeological interests can be satisfactorily safeguarded within the scheme of development.Where there is evidence of archaeological remains, development proposals will be expected to demonstrate that either:-
    1. the archaeological features of the site will be satisfactorily preserved in situ, or a suitable strategy has been put forward to mitigate the impact of development proposals upon important archaeological remains and their settings; or, if this is not justified;
    2. provision is made for adequately recording the site prior to development, preferably by reaching a legal agreement to ensure that access, time and financial resources are available to allow essential recording and publication to take place.

Justification of Policy EN6

The archaeological heritage of any area is a finite and irreplaceable resource. The Council values that resource highly and this policy ensures that (a) the resource is properly recorded; (b) that it is given statutory protection where applicable and the protection of local land use policies in all cases, from the various threats or urban development, rural development, new roads, mineral extraction, forestry and agriculture; and, (c) that it is enhanced and interpreted.


Some archaeological sites are protected under the Ancient Sites and Archaeological Areas Act (1979) by being included in the Schedule of Ancient Monuments. Such sites, termed ‘Scheduled Monuments’, are recognised to be of national importance. It should be noted, however, that not all known sites have yet been assessed for inclusion in the Schedule, and new sites are regularly discovered. The sites in West Lancashire, listed in Appendix D to this Plan, have already been included in the Schedule, but others may be added during the life of the Plan.


The importance of the need to protect archaeological remains has been recognised in PPG16 "Archaeology and Planning" which has amalgamated previous advice and set out what is considered to be best practice in dealing with archaeological matters within the planning process. It advises that development plan policies should carry a presumption in favour of the preservation of nationally important monuments. It stresses the importance of early consultation between developers and planning authorities, the desirability of preservation "in situ" wherever possible, and the potential for reconciling the needs of development and archaeology by careful and sympathetic design of layout and foundations. Where a development proposal is likely to affect important archaeological remains, PPG16 advises local planning authorities to seek further information from the applicant before determining the application. Where the local planning authority decides that preservation "in situ" is not justified and that planning permission should be granted, the PPG advises the option of preservation by record, or rescue excavation, and that it is reasonable to secure this through  Section 106 Agreement.


Although the Council keeps a record of some of the sites of local archaeological interest and industrial archaeological interest, comprehensive records are kept at Lancashire County Council Environment Directorate. The County Archaeologist acts as the Council's principal advisor on archaeological matters.


 The Council has a responsibility to inform and educate the public about its archaeological heritage, and therefore proposes to promote public understanding of it through a variety of interpretative material.


A Code of Practice has been drawn up by representatives of the archaeological profession and property developers. It sets out a method of approach to the investigation and protection of archaeological remains affected by development. The Council expects that both sides will adhere to this Code of Practice.

Background Documents for Policy EN6

Planning Policy Guidance Note 16 Archaeology and Planning 


Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy ER1 Management of the North West's Natural, Built and Historic Environment


Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 21 Lancashire's Natural and Manmade Heritage 

Sub Regional 

POLICY EN7 - Protection of Historic Parks and Gardens View Map of this site ?

Development will not be permitted which would have a detrimental impact on the historic landscape character or the historic setting of sites included in the Register of Gardens and Parks of Special Historic Interest compiled by English Heritage. At the present date only Scarisbrick Hall and Park, with its gardens and surrounding land, has been included in the Register, but other sites may be added at a later date.

Development proposals which enhance, conserve or restore the historic landscape will be permitted provided that they incorporate adequate provision for maintenance, interpretation and improved public access.

Development of the following sites, and on land forming part of their setting, will only be permitted if it can be shown that they enhance, conserve or restore features of historic landscape value and respect their wider setting:-

  1. Lathom Park (A)
  2. Rufford New Hall Park (A)
  3. Rufford Old Hall Gardens (A)
  4. La Mancha, Halsall (A)
  5. Wrightington Hall Estate (B)
  6. Harrock Hall Estate (B)
  7. Bickerstaffe Hall Estate (C)
  8. Crawford Manor (C)
  9. Moor Hall, Aughton (C)
  10. Parbold Hall (C)

Justification of Policy EN7

English Heritage has compiled and maintains a Register of Historic Parks and Gardens, so that Highway and Planning Authorities and developers know that they should try to safeguard them when planning new road schemes and new development generally. Although the list does not have statutory force in the same way that legislation concerning Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas or ancient monuments does, it serves as a reminder that the parks or gardens should be given special consideration in the development control process.


The only entry in West Lancashire on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens at present is Scarisbrick Hall and Park, which was formed on its present boundaries in the 19th Century as the parkland for Scarisbrick Hall. This is shown on the Proposals Map. No specific extra statutory controls are imposed on an area by virtue of its being included on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. However, the Council will use its development control powers to ensure that the special cultural, horticultural, historical and landscape qualities of any park or garden on the Register and their setting are not eroded or damaged by inappropriate development or neglect.


The Council will also seek to ensure that any park or garden on the Register is properly maintained and enhanced, through persuasion and advice. In appropriate cases, the Council will provide interpretative information to promote public recognition and understanding of any park or garden on the Register.


There are a number of historic parks and gardens in the District which are not on English Heritage's Register, but which are nevertheless of local interest. Those known about at present are listed in the policy. The Council will seek to ensure that the special cultural, horticultural, historical and landscape qualities of these parks and gardens is not eroded or damaged by inappropriate development or neglect.


A research report undertaken by the Manchester Metropolitan University on behalf of Lancashire County Council and English Heritage, entitled 'Historic Designed Landscapes of Lancashire', was published in November 1998.This splits sites into 4 categories.Those parks included in categories A, B and C are included in this policy:-

  • A - Worthy of further study as a priority
  • B - Worthy of further study - lesser priority
  • C - Sites of potential interest
  • D - Site record entered

Background Documents for Policy EN7

Planning Policy Guidance Note 15 Planning and the Historic Environment 


Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy ER1 Management of the North West's Natural, Built and istoric Environment
  • Policy ER3 Built Heritage
  • Policy ER4 Contribution of Built Heritage to Regeneration


Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 21 Lancashire's Natural and Manmade Heritage 

Sub Regional 

POLICY EN8 - Green Spaces View Map of this site ?

Development will not be permitted which would destroy or significantly impair the integrity of the main Green Spaces shown on the Proposals Map, or any other locally important area of open space, by:-

  1. resulting in the loss of the undeveloped open character of the area;
  2. restricting access to a publicly accessible Green Space;
  3. causing the degradation of the visual, ecological and historical functions of the area; or
  4. directly or indirectly damaging or severing links between Green Spaces, Corridors and the open countryside.
Development may be permitted where it will provide a substantial environmental gain to the visual, ecological or appropriate recreational functions of the Green Space or where it forms part of a scheme which provides an overall benefit to the local community in social, environmental and economic terms.

Justification of Policy EN8

The Green Spaces identified on the Proposals Map are those areas of open land which provide, or have the potential to provide, one or more of the following:-

  1. opportunities for outdoor recreation;
  2. an important visual contribution to the landscape or townscape character;
  3. habitats for wildlife; and/or
  4. historical, cultural or geological features.


These spaces and corridors perform important functions and contribute to the quality of the environment in West Lancashire. PPG3 (Housing) aims to direct new development to previously developed land within urban areas but makes it clear that parks, recreation grounds, playing fields and allotments should be protected. For example it clearly states in paragraph 32 that previously developed sites should be developed before greenfield sites. Paragraph 53 adds that developing more housing in urban areas should not mean building on urban green spaces. PPG17 (para 11) states that open space and sports and recreational facilities that are of high quality, or of particular value to the local community, should be given protection in plans. In particular it draws attention to small areas of open space in urban areas, areas that provide a community resource, and areas that benefit wildlife and biodiversity. The Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West (Policy UR10) states that development plans should create and enhance urban greenspace networks. Any development which reduces any of these functions will be resisted by the Council. The Council will also protect links between Green Spaces and Corridors and the open countryside in order to encourage wildlife into urban areas and to allow public access between town and country.


The Council recognises that certain types of development will protect and enhance the value of Green Spaces and will allow exceptions to the policy in such cases. This may include the provision of access, appropriate recreational facilities and routes for alternatives to motorised transport and car parking schemes that serve either the main purposes of the Green Spaces or as an appropriate improvement in traffic management.

Background Documents for Policy EN8

Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 Housing
Planning Policy Guidance Note 17 Sport & Recreation


Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy UR10 Greenery, Urban Greenspace and the Public Realm 


West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006

  • Environment and Leisure sections 


POLICY EN9 - Protection of Trees and Woodlands View Map of this site ?

Development involving the loss of, or damage to, woodlands or trees with amenity, screening, wildlife or historical value will only be permitted where the development is required to meet an overriding need which could not be met elsewhere.

In such cases the developer will be required to replace the trees lost on site with ones of at least equal value either on the site or in the locality. Conditions will be imposed or legal agreements made to ensure such mitigation measures are carried out.

Where trees are to be retained as part of the development the layout should take account of the guidance in BS.5837:2005 in order to provide:-

  1. adequate spacing between buildings, roads, footpaths, hardstandings, drains, services and existing trees to enable implementation of the development without causing damage to the trees which are to be retained, and to ensure that existing and new trees will continue to be acceptable in their context in the future;
  2. adequate space for protective fencing to be placed around the trees to be retained during the construction and development; and
  3. adequate space for the site access, storage and other site operations to be accommodated outside areas of protective fencing.

Development will not be permitted where insufficient information has been provided to enable the Council to assess the effect on trees. The information required to make such an assessment should be to the level detailed in BS.5837:2005 - Trees in Relation to Construction, or any subsequent revision of that standard.

Planning permission will not be granted where the proposal adversely affects trees and woodlands which are ancient woodlands as defined in English Nature's inventory of Ancient Woodlands.

Planning permission will not be granted for development which would adversely affect an ancient or veteran tree.


Justification of Policy EN9

Trees are an important element of West Lancashire's landscapes and townscapes and the Council considers that this resource should be retained, protected and increased wherever possible. As detailed in the District's Landscape and Wildlife Assessment, trees are an important visual, ecological and historical resource and are facing many threats, particularly in urban areas. As land for development becomes more and more valuable and development densities rise, trees and development sites are under increasing pressure. The Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West aims to increase the overall stock of urban trees (Policy UR10) and to increase the overall level of tree cover by at least 10% (Policy ER6).


Where existing trees and other vegetation are to be retained, sufficient consideration must be given at an early stage to the layout of all components of the development and the construction process which could affect trees. Trees are living organisms and effects on branches, roots and soil conditions are all relevant considerations. The development must be usable and the trees to be retained should not be confined in such a way as to make them unacceptable in the future, where appropriate making allowance for root and branch growth.

Where trees are to be retained, curtilages will need to be designed to reflect present and future needs of both the tree and the site user. The development must also be capable of being constructed and matters for consideration include accessibility for contractor's plant, delivery of materials, storage areas and locations of site accommodation. Local Authorities should consider the effect of trees and development on each other and the impact of site layouts on the roots of new and existing trees.


British Standard 5837:2005 recognises the need for trees to be properly protected during the period of development. Applicants should refer to Sections 6 & 7 of the Standard which provides guidance on planning and protection to trees during construction. Table 1 in Section 7 provides guidance on minimum distances for protective fencing around trees. It is important that protection measures be installed prior to any site works including site clearance. It is often during the first few days of site works that damage is caused to trees.


It is a duty of the Council, in granting planning permission, to give adequate consideration to the preservation and planting of trees. A thorough understanding of trees on or adjacent to the site will allow for a full assessment of the impact of the development on trees. This requires that the tree resource be fully surveyed and this information provided with the application. British Standard 5837:2005 provides guidance on the level of information required including an accurate site plan showing all existing trees to assist with the consideration of applications. Applicants should comply with Section 5 of the Standard which gives guidance on pre-planning site assessment, land surveys and tree surveys.


The Council has prepared Supplementary Planning Guidance on Trees and Development which explains how the Council will implement the policy and what information developers will need to submit.

Background Documents for Policy EN9

Tree Preservation Orders - A Guide to the Law and Good Practice (DETR,  March 2000)
British Standard 5835:2005 Trees in Relation to Construction: Recommendations 


Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy UR10 Greenery, Urban Greenspace and the Public Realm
  • Policy ER6 Woodlands


Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 20 Lancashire's Landscapes
  • Policy 21 Lancashire's Natural and Manmade Heritage

Sub Regional 

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006

  • Environment 


POLICY EN10 - Flood Risk View Map of this site ?

In areas of high flood risk, developers will be required to submit a flood risk assessment and mitigation measures where appropriate.

Within existing settlements in high flood risk areas, such as Banks, development will be limited to proposals for which appropriate flood alleviation measures exist or will be provided by the developer.

In undeveloped or sparsely developed high risk flood areas, development will be limited to proposals for which the particular location is essential. In functional flood plains, development will be limited to essential infrastructure which cannot be located elsewhere.

In all cases development will not be permitted which would compromise existing or proposed flood defences or increase the risk of flooding or otherwise adversely affect existing surface water systems unless appropriate mitigation measures are proposed.Wherever possible such mitigation measures should include sustainable drainage systems.

Development which would restrict access for the maintenance of flood prevention features, rivers, streams, culverts and drainage channels will not be permitted. 


Justification of Policy EN10

PPG25 sets out the importance the Government attaches to the management and reduction of flood risk in the land-use planning process. Flooding puts life and property at risk as well as causing pollution by overloading both natural and artificial drainage. It is therefore necessary to ensure that new development does not take place in locations liable to flooding or does not increase the risk of flooding elsewhere, for example, by reducing the storage capacity of the flood plain and increasing surface water run-off. PPG25 requires that in areas of high flood risk a flood risk assessment should be submitted with a planning application. The Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West (Policy ER8) states that development plans should ensure built development is wholly exceptional in areas of functional flood plains; apply the precautionary principle, using the sequential approach, to developments in areas at risk of flooding (which includes the Ribble Estuary); discourage inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding; avoid development which could lead to flooding elsewhere; promote sustainable drainage systems; support the protection, management and development of flood defences; and take account of the longer term impacts of climate change. This policy is carried forward in Policy 24 of the Joint Lancashire Structure Plan.


With the above in mind, the Council has followed the guidance in PPG25, and in particular the sequential approach to site selection, in determining which sites should be allocated for development in the district. No land has been allocated for residential development within areas at risk of flooding.


The Council will continue to follow current government guidance on development in areas of flood risk in assessing development proposals and sites. This will include reassessing committed development sites should the opportunity arise.


The area at risk from tidal or watercourse flooding within West Lancashire is considerable although it is protected to a certain standard by well constructed and maintained defences. The area at risk from tidal flooding includes the sizeable settlement area of Banks which will always depend on well maintained sea defences.


Where the Council feels that development in such areas should be permitted for social or economic reasons, then appropriate flood protection and mitigation measures, including measures to restore flood plain or provide adequate storage, will be required to compensate for the impact of the development. Engineering measures must not adversely affect the water environment.


New development will only be permitted where the Council is satisfied that suitable measures, designed to mitigate the adverse impact of surface water run-off are included as an integral part of the development. Measures to minimise the area of hard surface and the use of porous surfaces must be incorporated to reduce the risk of sudden flooding due to reductions in levels of percolation of rainfall as a result of the impermeability of such surfaces. Such run-off can be contaminated with a whole range of pollutants which would have a detrimental impact on the quality of nearby watercourses if not suitably controlled.


Attenuation of surface water run-off rates to existing levels will be necessary for developments which drain to the River Tawd, Hurlston Brook at Ormskirk, Abbey Brook or the Upper Alt catchment in order that capacity problems on these watercourses are not exacerbated.


Culverting watercourses should be avoided because of the adverse ecological, flood defence and other effects that are likely to arise.Therefore applications that involve culverting of a watercourse will only be approved if there is no reasonably practicable alternative or if the detrimental effects of culverting would be so minor that they would not justify a more costly alternative. In all cases, adequate mitigation must be provided for the damage caused. The Council will encourage the reopening of culverted watercourses where this will lead to environmental and flood defence improvements.


In accordance with PPG25, the Council will consult the Environment Agency on all applications for planning permission which may impact on flood risk. The Agency promotes Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) to reduce flood risk. Developers are advised to contact the Environment Agency regarding flood risk and the use of SuDS and to consider the Advice Notes produced on SuDS.


The Council will prepare a Supplementary Planning Document covering development and Flood Risk. This will contain a plan showing areas of high risk of flooding and functional flood plains.

Background Documents for Policy EN10

Planning Policy Guidance Note 25 Development and Flood Risk 


Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy ER8 Development and Flood Risk 


Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 24 Flood Risk 

Sub Regional 

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006

  • Environment and Health 


POLICY EN11 - Protection of Water Resources View Map of this site ?

Development will not be permitted which is likely to cause damage to groundwater or surface water resources or prevent use of those resources. In particular the location of septic tanks in environmentally sensitive areas will be strictly controlled.


Justification of Policy EN11

Groundwater is formed when rain soaks away underground into water-bearing rocks known as aquifers. Groundwater resources are a vital component of potable water supplies but once polluted the damage is invariably irrevocable. Any pollution can have wider effects in terms of the water environment as groundwater does not stay underground forever but continually feeds rivers and streams through springs and seepage into river beds. It is essential, therefore, that development which threatens these resources in terms of quantity, quality, and the ecological features they support be prevented.


In West Lancashire groundwater is abstracted for public water supply and agricultural purposes. The Environment Agency has identified the areas of principal recharge for groundwater and these are the most vulnerable to the effects of development on the surface. The District has been divided into 3 areas with major, minor and no aquifers. The most important area (Area 1) is that south and south west of Ormskirk which contains a major aquifer with high quality groundwater which is exploited extensively for public water supply. Quarrying and other activities which result in physical disturbance to the main aquifer will generally be unacceptable in this area, particularly close to supply source. Similar constraints apply to new waste disposal, effluent disposal activities and major infrastructure developments. Area 2 (minor aquifer) in the eastern part of the District may be subject to some private domestic and agricultural water supplies in rural areas remote from the mains system but there are generally no planning constraints. Area 3 (non-aquifer) in the western part of the District is the least vulnerable of the District to surface development and no general planning constraints would apply from a groundwater protection point of view.

Background Documents for Policy EN11

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy ER7 Water Resources 


Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 22 Protection of Water Resources 

Sub Regional 

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006

  • Health 


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Disclaimer: This adopted West Lancashire District Proposals Map forms the 'lower tier' of the two-tier Plan in Lancashire. The 'upper tier' comprises the Lancashire Structure Plan.