Latest News

Landscape Character and Environmental Stewardship

This page contains links to useful resources, on the LCN site and elsewhere, relating to the application of Landscape Character Assessment in Defra’s Environmental Stewardship scheme.

Environmental Stewardship provides an opportunity for land managers to manage, conserve and enhance the landscape. It replaces previous agri-environment schemes. Its key objectives include the maintenance and enhancement of landscape quality and character.

Environmental Stewardship has two tiers: an entry level aimed at maintenance, comprised of Entry Level Stewardship and Organic Entry Level Stewardship, and the more advanced Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) which is targeted at conservation and enhancement. Both levels emphasise the importance of landscape character.

Defra, in discussion with other Government agencies, has outlined the key characteristics of the different parts of the English countryside within the 159 Joint Character Areas (JCAs) as defined by The Countryside Agency and English Nature. The JCAs are recommended as a framework for guiding the selection of options for the Entry Level Scheme, and they guide the more specific, mandatory targets of the Higher Level Scheme. As part of the Farm Environment plan, Defra recommend that local Landscape Character Assessments should be used to help identify any relevant additional local key landscape characteristics and to make an assessment of their presence, condition and appropriate management strategy.

  • The Farm Environment Plan (FEP) is a structured survey of all environmental features on a farm. It involves identifying and making an assessment of the condition of any features of historical, wildlife, resource protection, access and landscape interest.

Workshop Proceedings

  • Landscape Character and Biodiversity
    10th May 2005
    This workshop looked at the application of Landscape Character Assessment in delivering biodiversity gains. Several of the presentations looked at the topic in relation to land management and Environmental Stewardship
  • Landscape Character and Agri-Environment Schemes
    30th May 2003
    This workshop explored the relationship between Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) and agri-environment schemes. Speakers provided insights into the practical issues of incorporating landscape character into agri-environment applications.