Dungannon and South Tyrone Area Plan 2010
Policy Framework: Conservation (Page 1 of 3)
Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough is endowed with a rich and diverse range of landscapes, wildlife habitats and heritage features that together distinguish its special character and identity.
The Borough contains a number of distinct landscapes. These include the scenic Clogher Valley landscapes, which are well contained within sandstone ridges, and the undulating landscape of high drumlins interspersed with numerous lakes and meandering incised rivers and streams in the central part of the Borough. To the east, the land falls progressively to the flat shores of Lough Neagh and the broad floodplain of the River Blackwater. A variety of landscape patterns has evolved over thousands of years, as natural and human forces have shaped and modified this natural topography. Today, each local landscape is characterised by a distinct combination of land-cover, habitat and man-made features, the result of approximately 10,000 years of human activity and change on natural resources and topography.
This interaction between people and their environment will continue to bring about change over time in response to the needs of the community. In managing the process of change and its effects on the natural and man-made landscape and townscape of the Borough, it will be important to safeguard the natural features and the archaeological and built heritage, which form part of the local identity.
Change can provide opportunities to sustain or reinforce the special character of the area and to enhance it, by improving the quality of development. In this way, each generation can ensure a rich surviving historic legacy and contribute to a healthy and attractive environment for future generations.
Landscape Quality and Character
Whilst there are currently no areas within the Borough designated as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), there is a number of high quality scenic lowland landscapes, including some of the most scenic valley and drumlin landscapes in Northern Ireland. The identity, diversity and sensitivity to change of the various landscape character areas within the Borough should be an important consideration in future management.
Biodiversity is the total variety of all living things and today the value of sustaining a diverse range of wildlife is being increasingly recognised. People are beginning to appreciate the vulnerability of our natural heritage and the consequences for future generations of environmental damage. The Northern Ireland Biodiversity Strategy 2002 endorses the recommendations of the Northern Ireland Biodiversity Group as the framework for biodiversity action. The Strategy describes the main features of biodiversity in Northern Ireland, identifies the main factors affecting it and proposes a number of measures to support biodiversity conservation up to 2016.
Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough has a wide variety of wildlife habitats supporting a rich variety of plant and animal species worthy of protection. Wetland habitats, including lakes, rivers and peatlands, are of particular note, but woodland and grassland are also important. Earth science interest is also growing as research has increasingly discovered notable topographical and geological features that help to explain the evolution of today's landscapes and habitat diversity. In particular, the Clogher Valley is considered to be a fine example of a fluvio-glacial landscape and its distinctive long ridges contribute to its scenic quality and special identity.
Much of the protection of these wildlife habitats and earth science features is achieved through the designation of a hierarchy of sites that are of international, national and local nature conservation importance. This is primarily the responsibility of the Department's Environment and Heritage Service (EHS). Some designations are particularly important because what they exemplify is rare and irreplaceable: such features of scientific, educational or research interest, once destroyed, cannot be recreated. Other sites are important as representative examples of their type at a local, national or international level.
Sites of International Nature Conservation Importance
These comprise sites listed under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance and also European Sites (Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs)) designated under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) Regulations (NI) 19952. All European sites within the Borough are also Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) confirmed under the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (NI) Order 1985 (as amended 1989) or The Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002.
Part of the Lough Neagh & Lough Beg Ramsar Site falls within the Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough, the designation aiming to promote the conservation and wise use of its wetlands and waterfowl habitats. The Lough and its shoreline is also designated as an SPA by virtue of its importance as sites for breeding, over-wintering and migrating birds. Slieve Beagh is a candidate SAC and a Ramsar site and is the largest intact expanse of upland peat in Northern Ireland. It supports an array of associated plant and animal communities including rare and unusual flora and insect species. Peatlands Park is also a candidate SAC, being important for its active raised bog and naturally regenerating cut-over raised bog.
Sites of National Nature Conservation Importance
These comprise Areas of Special Scientific Interest (designated under the above-mentioned 1985 Order, 1989 and 2002 Orders), Marine Nature Reserves, Nature Reserves and National Nature Reserves, declared under the provisions of the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (NI) Order 1985. They also include Areas of Scientific Interest declared under the Amenity Lands (NI) Act 1965.
In addition to Lough Neagh, Slieve Beagh and Peatlands Park ASSIs that are of international importance, there are also nationally important ASSIs at Benburb, Black Lough (Rehaghy), Cullentra Lough, Derrycloony Lough, Drumcrow Fen, Fardross Stream, Fymore Lough and Glenmore Wood. National Nature Reserves are located at Mullenakill and Annagarriff, within the Peatlands Park and also at the islands on Lough Neagh. Lough Neagh is also a declared Area of Scientific Interest (ASI). Sites of national conservation importance act as a constraint on mineral developments (see Plan Policy MN 1).
The Department's Environment and Heritage Service will keep the statutory designation of sites of national or international nature conservation importance under review and new areas may be identified.
Sites of Local Nature Conservation Importance (SLNCIs)
Alongside the sites that are of international and national importance, the Department also recognises a variety of Local Nature Reserves and Wildlife Refuges. These sites include:
- Local Nature Reserves established by District Councils under the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (NI) Order 1985;
- Wildlife Refuges designated under the Wildlife Order, where special protection measures for some or all species are implemented; and
- non-statutory nature reserves managed by voluntary conservation bodies such as the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's Forest Service or the Ulster Wildlife Trust; and
- The Ulster Wildlife Trust manages non-statutory nature reserves at Blessingbourne, Fivemiletown (centred around Lough Fadda) and Argory Mosses, a small part of which falls within the Borough boundary. Additionally, the Forest Service has established non-statutory Forest Nature Reserves at Altadaven, Knockmany and Knockginney.
Additionally, the Plan designates a number of other sites of local nature conservation importance, identified in association with Environment and Heritage Service, which merit protection. These sites are dealt with under Plan Policy CON 1.
Sites of international and national importance are represented by symbols on Borough Map No. 94 with exact boundaries shown in Appendix 3 on Map Nos. 95 - 109. All designated sites of local nature conservation importance are identified by symbol on Borough Map Nos.1 a and 1 b. Detailed descriptions of the Sites of Local Nature Conservation that are designated in this Plan are given in Appendix 4, with their exact boundaries shown on Map Nos. 2 - 52.
Archaeology and Built Heritage
The present landscape of Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough is the product of human activity and change which dates from around 8,000 BC to modern times. Evidence of the human presence is indicated by a rich variety of archaeological sites and monuments, historic and vernacular buildings, features of the industrial heritage, planned landscapes and historic townscapes. While the landscape and townscape of Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough will continue to change over time in response to the needs of the community, it is important to respect and protect the archaeological and built heritage received from past generations and to improve the quality of new development. This will help ensure a rich historic legacy and attractive environment for future generations.
Archaeological Sites and Monuments
The Department's Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) is responsible for the identification, recording and protection of all known archaeological sites and historic monuments in Northern Ireland. This includes the taking of monuments into State Care and their scheduling for protection under the Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objects (NI) Order 1995.
There are currently 562 archaeological sites and monuments identified on the Northern Ireland Sites and Monuments Record within Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough. This includes 16 Monuments in State Care protected and managed as a public asset by the Environment and Heritage Service and 74 scheduled monuments. The relevant settlement maps indicate the location of all of the archaeological sites and monuments, while those in State Care and the Scheduled sites are also shown on Borough Map Nos. 1 a and 1 b. All known archaeological sites or monuments are indicated and in some cases, these features have formed the basis for or contributed to the designation of Local Landscape Policy Areas (see Plan Policy CON 2).
Because the archaeological survey is ongoing, there may be changes to the exact location of these sites. Over the Plan period, archaeological remains that had not been previously recognised, may be discovered. The existence of such remains may represent a material change that can affect the nature of development that will be permitted in respect of an area within a settlement, or in the countryside.
Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Character
The Department's Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) is required under the provisions of the Planning (NI) Order 1991 to compile a list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest for Northern Ireland, following consultation with the Historic Buildings Council and the relevant District Council.
At present there are over 500 buildings included in the statutory list within Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough. These 'listed buildings' make an important contribution to the overall character of the Borough. They are also a significant component within the Plan's designated Areas of Townscape Character. In some cases, listed buildings have formed the basis for or contributed to the designation of Local Landscape Policy Areas (see Plan Policy CON 2).
The process of building survey and re-survey is ongoing and buildings may be added to or removed from the list. Because of the large number of such listed buildings, and because the list is subject to ongoing change, it is not feasible to detail them or to show them on the various maps. Reference should be made to the updated statutory list produced by Environment and Heritage Service.
In recognition of their special architectural and historic interest, three conservation areas have been designated in the Borough. The centres of the villages of Caledon and Moy were designated in May 1984, with Caledon being extended in 2003. The Northland area of Dungannon town centre was designated in November 1994. The Department has published conservation area booklets that provide information on the history and character of these areas together with guidance for developers. The boundaries of the conservation areas are identified on Maps 117 - 119 in Appendix 3.
Historical Parks, Gardens and Demesnes
Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough contains a number of planned landscaped parks and demesnes, such as Caledon, Parkanaur and Blessingbourne, which represent a significant historic resource and make an important contribution to the landscape character of the Borough. These important heritage features are dealt with under Plan Policy CON 4.
Other Heritage Features
Throughout Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough, there exists a wealth of other built heritage features that are of interest and that add to the distinctiveness of the various localities. Such features are numerous and may be considered to be locally important, including lime-kilns, corn, flax or beetling mills, linen mills, mine workings, brickworks, historic road lines, waterways and railway features, historic estates, field and settlement patterns, national schools, other older distinctive / period buildings, character areas and vernacular buildings. Some such features have already been recognised and given specific protection as listed buildings, sites and monuments, whilst other features have contributed to the designation of areas of special character. Regardless of designation, the desirability of protecting industrial and other heritage features is a material consideration when assessing development proposals. Historic waterways are specifically dealt with under Plan Policy CON 6.
2 These Regulations implement the provisions of the EC Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds (The Wild Birds Directive ) and the EC Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and Wild Fauns and Flora (The Habitats Directive within Northern Ireland.