Craigavon Area Plan 2010
Policy Framework: Conservation (Page 1 of 2)
Craigavon Borough is endowed with a rich and diverse range of landscapes, wildlife habitats and heritage features that together distinguish its special character and identity.
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 distinctive combination of land-cover, habitat and man-made features, the result of some 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 and 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 its natural features and the archaeological and built heritage, which form part of its local identity.
Change can provide opportunities to sustain or reinforce the special character of the area or to enhance it by improving the quality of new development. In this way, this generation can ensure a rich surviving historic legacy and contribute to a healthy and attractive environment for future generations.
Landscape Quality and Character
Craigavon Borough is situated to the south and east of Lough Neagh and much of its landscape character is influenced by the extensive lowland basin of the Lough. The Borough has three broad landscape types: low-lying wetlands, rolling farmlands and river valleys, each generally displaying well structured landscape patterns. The landscape is also influenced by topographical and geological features and many of these explain the evolution of today's habitats, landscape patterns and diversity.
The identity, diversity and sensitivity of the landscape to change 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. Craigavon 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.
Much of the protection of wildlife features and earth science sites is achieved through the designation of a hierarchy of sites which are of international and national nature conservation importance. This is primarily the responsibility of the Department's Environment and Heritage Service. 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. Others sites are important as representative examples of their type at a local level.
Sites of International Nature Conservation Importance
Wetlands and waterfowl habitats of International Importance can be protected under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat: The Ramsar Convention. The UK Government signed The Convention in 1973 and accepted a commitment to promote both the conservation of particular sites and the wise use of wetlands within its territory. Lough Neagh and Lough Beg is a listed Ramsar Site.
Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), classified under the EC "Habitats Directive", 1992, are selected for the importance of their natural habitats and wild flora and fauna. Within the Borough, Montiaghs Moss has been identified as a Candidate SAC.
Special Protection Areas (SPAs), classified under the EC "Birds Directive" 1979, are selected for their importance as areas for breeding, over-wintering and migrating birds. Within the Borough, Lough Neagh and Lough Beg, which includes Portmore Lough, is a classified SPA.
The protection of these European sites is given effect under the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations (NI) 1995 (the "Habitats Regulations"). These sites are identified on maps in Appendix 5.
Sites of National Nature Conservation Importance
Areas nationally important for wildlife, geology and landforms are protected under the Amenity Lands (NI) Act 1965 and the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (NI) Order 1985 (as amended 1989) and The Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002. Within Craigavon Borough, these comprise Areas of Scientific Interest (ASIs), Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) and National Nature Reserves (NNRs). Within Craigavon Borough ASSIs include Lough Neagh, Portmore Lough, Derryvore, Selshion and Montiaghs Moss. There are designated NNRs at Oxford Island, Montiaghs Moss, Brackagh Bog and the Lough Neagh Islands. Lough Neagh and Lough Beg is also an ASI. These sites are identified on maps in Appendix 5.
Over the plan period, the statutory designation of sites of international or national nature conservation importance will be kept under review by the Department's Environment and Heritage Service and new areas may be identified.
Sites of Local Nature Conservation Importance
These comprise Wildlife Refuges established under the Wildlife (NI) Order 1995 and Local Nature Reserves that may be established by District Councils under the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (NI) Order 1985. In addition, they also include nonstatutory nature reserves managed by public agencies or voluntary conservation bodies, such as the Department of Agriculture's Forest Service or the Ulster Wildlife Trust, and other sites of local nature conservation importance identified in Countryside Assessments (prepared in association with development plans) and which merit appropriate protection.
The Plan designates a number of sites of local nature conservation importance throughout the Borough (See Plan Policy CON 1), as shown on Map Nos. 1 Craigavon Borough and 5 Craigavon Urban Area.
Archaeology and Built Heritage
The present landscape of Craigavon Borough is the product of human activity and change which dates from around 8000 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 Craigavon 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 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 243 archaeological sites and monuments identified in the Northern Ireland Sites and Monuments Record within Craigavon Borough. This includes Bivallate Rath, Lisnamintry, a monument in State Care, protected and managed as a public asset by the Environment and Heritage Service, and 13 Scheduled Monuments. These are indicated on the relevant Plan maps.
With ongoing archaeological survey work there may be changes to the exact location of these sites.
Over the plan period additional archaeological remains 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.
In some cases, archaeological sites and monuments have formed the basis for, or contributed to, the designation of Local Landscape Policy Areas (see Plan Policy CON 2).
Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Character
The Department's Environment and Heritage Service 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 211 buildings included in the statutory list within Craigavon Borough and it is anticipated that over the plan period further buildings will be added as the process of building survey and resurvey is ongoing.
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).
In recognition of its special architectural and historic interest, the centre of the town of Lurgan was designated a conservation area by the Department in June 2004. The Lurgan Conservation Area booklet provides information on the history and character of the area, together with guidance to assist those people wishing to carry out development within the area. The boundary of the Conservation Area is identified on Map No. 5 Craigavon Urban Area.
Historic Parks, Gardens and Demesnes
Craigavon Borough contains three planned landscaped parks and demesnes, Brownlow House, Coney Island and Waringstown House, 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.