This is a composite indicator of changes in landscape and waterscape character in England. It will combine findings from 3 developing strands of landscape monitoring work. Firstly, a statistical database and spatially mapped monitoring of changes in landscape and waterscape character in National Character Areas (NCA) and protected landscapes across all of England. Secondly, monitoring at an England scale of the public’s perceptions of landscape character and how those perceptions relate to the landscape change trends being identified. Thirdly, findings will be informed by on-going monitoring (since 2013) of environmental outcomes in our protected landscapes (National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty). The composite indicator will build on an approach that has been developed to assess the impacts of agri-environment schemes on landscape in 159 NCAs and will be structured by landscape change themes such as field patterns and boundaries, waterscapes historic features, semi-natural habitats, agricultural land use, settlement patterns and development, and woodland or tree cover. The NCA profiles (currently being refreshed and placed on a digital platform) include Statements of Environmental Opportunity, which are being utilised to evaluate changes detected in landscape and waterscape character.
Readiness and links to data
This indicator is not available for reporting in 2023. Further development work is required to build on existing methods and information sources to assess changes in landscape and waterscape character.
Progress has been made towards an indicator that will be made available in 2024, including establishment of a set of indicators and metrics for the suite of landscape change themes associated with the NCA change database. A baseline analysis of change between 2015 and 2019 has been carried out across most of the landscape change indicators and themes for all NCAs and protected landscapes. The analysis requires a further phase of work and refinement to inform headline findings and incorporation within a change atlas and dashboard (currently under development) to allow interactive access to detailed findings for a range of audiences. In addition, progress has been made in assessing how the People and Nature Survey (PANS) results can be used to develop a metric for public perception of landscape character. Opportunities have been identified to capture additional high-level information in future PANS surveys relating more specifically to people’s perceptions and preferences about landscape that can inform landscape change monitoring.