Landscape in the planning process

The landscapes of Aberdeenshire are an important and diverse resource with great environmental, social and economic value. The landscapes in both rural and urban locations are fundamental to the quality of people’s lives and the value of the environment. The council recognises that and is committed to looking after all the area’s landscapes for the benefit of current and future generations.

Given the fundamental role landscape plays in underpinning the quality of people’s lives it is essential that landscape change is carefully planned to conserve the valued characteristics of all Aberdeenshire landscapes.

Appropriate land use, the promotion of quality landscape design and the conservation of valued landscapes at national and local level are objectives of national planning policy and our Local Development Plan (LDP). The effect of climate change on the landscapes and the problem of decreasing biodiverse habitats are also being addressed in relation to landscape policy.

The Environment team provides advice and opinion on development proposals with significant implications for the landscape, assists with the production of landscape related policy, works on improvement strategies for open space networks for Aberdeenshire settlements and develops landscape related projects.

Input to the planning process relates to types of development which have significant implications for the landscape and typically require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). These types of development can range from residential and commercial development to high profile industries such as wind energy.

Local Development Plan

Our commitment to conserving the regions landscapes can be found in our 2017 Local Development Plan. The plan sets out how we will protect Aberdeenshire’s landscapes from any adverse impacts of development. In our 2022 Local Development Plan, there is a policy that would not allow developments that cause unacceptable effects on a landscapes overall character. This character is defined by NatureScot Landscape Character Assessments.

Reference in the draft LDP 2021 is also made to the Aberdeenshire Special Landscapes local landscape designation which has been formulated to identify notably valued landscapes in Aberdeenshire with a sensitivity to development. Such a designation further assists our Planning team to conserve and protect some of the region’s most valued landscapes and can assist other activities such as land management with a basis for their decisions.