Planning for biodiversity in Cumbria


The NERC Act 2006 places a requirement on local authorities and other public authorities, to have regard to conserving biodiversity whilst carrying out their functions. Planning policy and guidance requires local authorities to consider biodiversity as a material consideration in determining local planning policy and planning decisions. Species, habitats and sites may be afforded varying degrees of protection relating to their conservation status, rarity and wider ecological value. Those species and habitats of greatest conservation concern are protected through legislation at European and/or national level. The UK and Local Biodiversity Action Plans list ‘Priority’ Species and Habitats which are noted to be endangered or at risk. These are also listed as Species and Habitats of Principal Importance in England under the NERC Act 2006. In any local area there is also a network of local wildlife sites, reserves and other features identified as being of value and note to the area.

Cumbria Biological Data Network (CBDN) has drawn up lists of Cumbria Key Species and Habitats as part of this Biodiversity Evidence Base for Cumbria. The lists contain nationally and internationally protected, UK Priority (UK Biodiversity Action Plan) and Cumbria Biodiversity Action Plan species and habitats. Individual guidance statements have been prepared for Key Habitats and an initial selection of Key Species in the county.

Planning policies and guidance relating to nature conservation and Green Infrastructure are central to spatial planning and development control from regional to local policy levels. Since species, habitats and sites, at various levels of protection, are all considered to be material considerations in planning, both planners and developers need to be aware and take account of these in the application and determination processes.

This biodiversity information resource has been developed for use within the planning system in Cumbria. It will assist Local Authority planners in producing Local Development Frameworks, help to inform the Development Control planning process and enable Local Authority planners to better fulfil their biodiversity duties. This information will also be of value for developers when considering biodiversity issues in relation to proposed developments.


PLEASE NOTE: the Habitat Regulations 1994 have been replaced by the Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. The Guide to Wildlife Legislation has been amended to reflect these changes. 

dragon fly
dragon fly

The Report of The Cumbria Biodiversity Evidence Base for Cumbria’s Planning Authorities can be seen here: [download report as pdf file]


Elements from the Evidence Base are presented separately below:


The Cumbria Biodiversity Evidence Base Spreadsheet lists the information required in the evidence base and summarises the nature, availability and currency of each element. [Excel spreadsheet]

A compilation of all the Planning Considerations and Enhancement Opportunities from the species and habitats statements can be seen here. [PDF] Habitat Targets for Cumbria are also presented.

A Guide to Biodiversity Planning Policy and Guidance can be seen here [PDF]

A Guide to Wildlife Legislation and Site Designations can be seen here [PDF]

• Information is presented for each Local Authority (LA) District and Joint Character Area (JCA) in the county in the spreadsheets below. A map of the JCAs and LA Districts in Cumbria can be seen here [jpeg/gif file]

The Key Species Presence/Absence Spreadsheet shows the known occurrence of Key Species in LA Districts and JCAs in Cumbria. [Excel spreadsheet]

The Priority Habitats in Cumbria spreadsheet indicates the extent of each UK Priority Habitat in each LA District and JCA in Cumbria. [Excel spreadsheet]

A map of all Priority Habitat in Cumbria can be seen here. [jpeg/gif]

A map of Key Species richness can be seen here. [jpeg/gif]



Additional documents:








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