Developments in Landscape Character Assessment

Tools for strategic decision making and the management of the Landscape



Date: Thursday 26th November 2015

Time: Registration & Coffee at 9am

Venue: Beresford Hotel, Dublin 1

Location: see map


Download form or register online – see below


Outline of Seminar

With the publication of the National Landscape Strategy (NLS)[1] in July 2015, Ireland has a valuable opportunity to enhance and expand the use of Landscape Character Assessment (LCA)[2][3], –as a useful guide to strategic land-use decision-making in Ireland.  We are presented with an opportunity to ensure that the new methodologies and standards are useful to planners, infrastructure developers, landscape and urban managers and those involved in heritage or tourism.

In Ireland, LCA – using a range of approaches – has informed county level development policy for strategic rural land use (renewable energy particularly), in development management, and to an extent in community led village design statements. But with no national guidelines on methodology or use of LCA, this potentially useful decision-making tool has had limited further impact or usefulness in the planning system and outside of planning.

Northern Ireland is about to launch an updated LCA which requires a response along the border counties and there are many examples across Europe of LCA being used effectively, with countries evolving methodologies to suit their particular needs[4] [5]. Their progress and experience can be used as a spur and support for the next stage of LCA in Ireland, now set in motion by the publication of the NLS.

So as not to repeat the mistakes of the past, this time, we need to be clear about what LCA should mean in Ireland, what will it be useful for, and how should we do it….

To this end – we will be discussing the following over the course of the seminar:

What is Landscape Character Assessment for?

  • To satisfy our obligations under the European Landscape Convention?
  • To align with processes evolved by other countries?
  • To inform planning policy on large scale rural land use questions, e.g. renewable energy, electricity distribution, agricultural intensification (or the reverse – re-wilding), landscape and biodiversity conservation (i.e. rural green infrastructure), forestry, recreation and tourism, housing?
  • To provide a framework for community involvement in landscape decisions, and encourage appreciation and ownership of landscape including landscape change?
  • To inform village, urban planning and site/development area masterplanning;
  • To provide a baseline to inform landscape-based studies such as landscape and visual impact assessments (LVIA), the identification of views and scenic routes for protection, etc.?
  • To provide a framework for collection of cultural landscape associations – visual art, legend, literature, song, etc.?

How should it be done – by what methodology and leading to what output – Does Ireland need to evolve a methodology to suit our own circumstances or can we utilise existing methodologies?

At what scale/s should it be done and in what order – national, then regional, county, local? Or local and national in parallel, both informing county and regional LCA?

Who should lead/coordinate? The NLS speaks of ‘co-operation between a range of partners’ but who will take responsibility for driving the process, collating and distributing the data and outputs, ensuring consistency, and who will fund the process?

What are the next steps and the overall timeframe?



  • Tony Williams,ILI
  • Richard Butler, ILI
  • Representative – DAHG
  • Christine Tudor, Natural England
  • Mansil Miller, Northern Ireland Environment Agency
  • Ciaran Tracey & Brian McCarthy, Irish Planning Institute
  • Alison Harvey, the Heritage Council
  • Deirdre Black, ILI




ILI Member = €80

Non Member =  €120

Students / Concessions = €50


Register online or download the registration form

Payments accepted via credit card (paypal) cheque or EFT transfer. Registration is not complete until payment is received. An administration fee of €10 applies for payments via invoice. Enquiries: Contact us at ili@irishlandscapeinstitute.comm



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