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Professional Practice for Landscape Architects

Professional Practice for Landscape Architects


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Published by: babi bau on Aug 01, 2009
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Legislation is a revealing documentation of the state of our culture, scientific
knowledge and attitude to resources at a particular time. The content of
each Act of Parliament is usually the result of much lobbying and bargain-
ing between different interest groups and the balance of political power
when the law was debated in Parliament.
The previous chapter contained a summary of planning law, but land-
scape architects need to take cognisance of other aspects of legislation
about the environment, including law covering countryside, protected
environments and pollution control.
Environmental legislation now includes a great number of Acts of
Parliament, statutes and regulations. The approach taken here is a select-
ive one, giving an introduction to the law and the many conservation
designations that cover different habitats and approaches to conservation
in the UK. The emphasis is on themes that have been of interest to land-
scape architects in recent times.

The Development of Environmental Legislation

While the control of development and land use in urban areas has stemmed
from concern for public health and safety, legislation for environmental
matters has been based on an interest in managing scarce resources, pub-
lic amenity and access to the countryside, and the conservation of certain
natural habitats.

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development)
Order and the Environmental Assessment Regulations extended the inter-
est of planning authorities into the countryside. For example, permitted

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Environmental legislation153

development rights are not available for farm or forestry dwellings or
livestock units sited near residential or similar buildings.
However, operations to do with the business of agriculture and forestry
are still considered to be permitted development and thus are free from plan-
ning control. For example, temporary uses of land, agricultural buildings
below a certain size, forestry buildings and forestry roads, caravan sites and
related buildings in some circumstances do not require planning permission.
In addition, much country activity, including wetland drainage, woodland
clearance and afforestation is only marginally affected by conservation legis-
lation. (See the section on environmental assessment in Chapter 3.)
In contrast, European Union legislation for the environment, society
and economy has significant impact on European landscapes, for example,
through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the law on biodiver-
sity. In addition, environmental policy was strengthened by the Treaty of
Amsterdam of October 1997, which established that sustainable devel-
opment will be an explicit European objective and that environmental
issues are to be integrated into all EU policies, e.g. transport, energy and

Statutory control in the countryside is conveniently divided into five

•Planning law.
•Management of scarce resources.
•Protection of areas for amenity, landscape quality and natural habitat.
•Pollution control.

Elements of planning law with particular relevance to the countryside

•Conservation areas.
•Buildings of historical or architectural interest.
•Open-cast mining sites.
•Designated or bad neighbour developments.
•Areas where permitted development rights have been withdrawn such
as national parks.

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