Natural England has recently published its 25thNational Character Area (NCA) revised profile for South Purbeck, as the entire series of NCAs are refreshed. Dividing England into 159 distinct natural areas, NCAs are each defined by a unique combination of landscape, biodiversity, geo-diversity, cultural and economic activity.
The revised profiles are evidence documents and include information on the key landscape features and biodiversity elements within the area, in addition to land management strategies. Descriptions of the ecosystem services supported by the NCA are also included, with details of how these benefit people, wildlife and the economy. Profiles also describe the potential opportunities for future environmental enhancement. By providing the best available environmental information that is also readily available to a wider audience, Natural England believes the profiles will help to achieve a more sustainable future for individuals and communities. This is because NCAs are considered a good decision making framework for the natural environment, and the revised profiles provide a context to help inform decisions that affect the environment at both a local and national scale.
This revision forms part of Natural England’s delivery of the Natural Environment White Paper, Biodiversity 2020 and the European Landscape Convention. In fact, refreshed profiles are already being used successfully in diverse projects. For example, the High Fells profiles have been used by the Action for Communities in Cumbria to inform their work facilitating the whole valley planning workshops for the Lake District National Park. Revised profiles for all 159 Character Areas are due to be published by April 2014.