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Draft consultation document of the GLASGOW AND THE CLYDE VALLEY STRUCTURE PLAN, October 2 005.

From Clydebelt's points of view, good points in green and bad points in red


The Green Belt and Wider Countryside
2.18 The key objectives of the Green Belt set out in the 2000 Plan remain valid. These have been restated, in order to provide a more positive and focussed expression of Green Belt policies and their role in the management of the City Regions of Scotland that is being sought in national planning policy. They are;

2.19 The existing areas designated as Green Belt will be retained therefore, except where they need to be adjusted in Community Growth areas (refer Schedule 1(c)). Greater weight will be given, however, to its positive management as indicated in the Green Network priorities and Glasgow and Clyde Valley Forestry & Woodland Framework Woodland Strategy framework (refer paragraph 3.28 below). There will be continued recognition also given to the sensitivities of areas identified in Inset Diagram A in the review of Local Plans which will set out the appropriate frameworks for the enhancement and protection of the Green Belt and wider countryside. These Local Plan reviews shall have regard to the scope of action set out in Green Network and the Forestry & Woodland Framework.

3.10 The Housing Market Area (HMA) framework in the 2000 Plan has been reviewed and is confirmed as still being appropriate for the assessment of private housing demand and supply. However, Housing Market Areas can change in response to various factors including improved transport infrastructure or the impact of new investment. The Inverclyde and
Dumbarton HMAs are currently self contained. However, it is desirable that they become more integrated into the wider housing and labour markets of the Metropolitan area over time. This will enable these areas to contribute to and share in the sustained growth of the area in line with the National Planning Framework, by recognising that their established development opportunities provide additional flexibility and the land supply of both HMAs can contribute to meeting the wider Conurbation market area demand ...

Renewable Energy - Wind
3.29 The Preferred Areas identified for wind farm development in the 2000 Plan (Key Diagram Inset G) have been reviewed.
This reflects changing technology and national energy policy. This Alteration has identified:

3.30 Key Diagram Inset G is adjusted deleting the 'Preferred Areas' and replacing them with a wider range of locations known as 'Potential Areas'.

Diagram 11-05 no longer has a potential area for windfarm development in the Kilpatrick Hills.

Part 1
Context of the SEA and Non Technical Summary


There is also an issue of future predictions of the longevity of particular types of development. It is often argued that developments like windfarms will only have 20 year lifespan, after which the land can be returned to its original state.

This view is not shared by the Joint Committee which regards development of this kind as being of long term significance as once the principle of development is accepted it often leads to redevelopment in other forms. Also, even if areas of land are restored then it will be unlikely to match the undeveloped nature it had previously, thus making it effects long term.

Part 2
State of the Environment and Trends

Objective 1 - Protect the Landform of the Area as Defined in Planning Designations and the Landscape Character Assessment for the GCV area.
Landforms of Area

Glasgow and the Clyde Valley is predominantly a lowland area surrounded by hill ranges. Whilst the latter reach over 700m in South Lanarkshire, they generally lack the rugged grandeur of mountains north of the Highland Boundary Fault. Nevertheless, the hills that enclose the Clyde basin are important visual boundaries for a large population and their topographic variety is appreciated and physically experienced on a regular basis. The terraced lava cliffs and scarps of the Campsie Fells, Kilpatrick Hills and the Renfrewshire Heights are distinctive features to the north and west. To the south is the larger scale, but more uniform, domed forms of the Southern Uplands.

Volcanic activity has introduced topographic landmarks into comparatively lowland situations. Dumbarton Rock, Duncryne Hill, Dumbuck Hill and Tinto Hill are the most noticeable within the study area, appearing as prominent conical hills. Similar features can also be found just outside the study area at Dunglass, Dumgoyne and Loudoun Hill.

Views and Skylines
The interplay of natural topographic features, and the pattern of settlement, means that views from within the urban area are an important feature of the landscape in the study area. In part, this reflects the presence of hills and moors to the north and south of Glasgow. The Campsies and Kilpatricks to the north of Glasgow and the Renfrew Heights and plateau moorlands separating the Clyde and Ayrshire basin to the south, create strong and containing skylines. These come together west of Glasgow to emphasise the narrow part of the Inner Firth of Clyde. Tall structures such as pylons and masts are visible on the skyline in some areas
particularly to the south of the city.

The presence of these untamed upland skylines contrasts with the settled and managed character of the urban areas they enclose. Snow on the Campsies or on the hills to the south of Glasgow, for example, can be a proxy for the white winter which rarely visits the urban area.

The importance of views from the city is accentuated by the natural landform. Much of Glasgow is constructed on steep, elongated drumlins. These are recognised by the word 'hill' in local placenames. These often provide fine views across the city to surrounding hills. Within the city centre, the effect is particularly dramatic, in part because the Georgian grid pattern of streets was laid down with apparently little regard for natural undulation. Elsewhere, Victorian Glasgow responded to these landforms and used them as a basis for crescents, circuses and concentric road patterns, e.g. most dramatically at Park Circus in the West End.

This visual relationship between the urban area and its containing rim of hills works in two directions. Many of these moorlands provide extensive views over the city and its hinterland, providing perspective on the mass of the conurbation. For example, the coastal part of Inverclyde is one of the few parts of the study area where views extend beyond the Clyde Basin, extending to the Argyll coast and into the south west Highlands.

Objective 10 Protect, Enhance and Where Necessary Restore the Historic Environment
Characteristics of the GCV's Historic Environment
The most significant visible evidence of prehistoric human endeavours is found in the hills South Lanarkshire and uncultivated areas of the Renfrewshire Heights, the Kilpatrick Hills and Campsie Fells. These features are discussed in Chapter 2 so relatively brief mention is provided here. They include a small number of henges, standing stones and chambered cairns from the Neolithic Period, but many more Bronze Age features include round cairns, urnfield cemeteries, hut circles and platforms. Two of the most significant Bronze Age sites are at Ellerslie Hill and Normangill Rig in South Lanarkshire. These features are subtle and often hard to discern in the landscape. They are sometimes highlighted, however, by frosty or snowy conditions or by low sunlight when the subtle undulations caused by features such as banks and ditches appear as highlighted areas or shadows.

Iron Age defensive structures are usually stronger features in the landscape due to their prominent locations, larger size and more robust construction. South Lanarkshire has a particularly fine concentration of Iron Age sites including settlements and defensive structures. There are several large hill forts and many small stone fortifications (duns) and evidence of many defended settlements in the study area. Some of the latter are in the form of 'crannogs', man-made island dwellings. Hilltop forts and duns can often be recognised from considerable distances, although most walls and ramparts are a fraction of their original size and some sites have become obscured by vegetation.

The legacy of Roman occupation in the Clyde Valley area is most clearly visible in the form of the Antonine Wall and its associated forts. This linear earthwork of rampart and ditches has been lost in certain urban areas, but is discernible for much of its rural sections, and is followed by footpaths for some of them. The main Antonine Wall garrison sites within the study area are in East and West Dunbartonshire at Bar Hill, Croy Hill, Kirkintilloch and Bearsden. Other Roman sites of significance in the study area are the stations associated with the main Roman road from the south. The fortlet at Redshaw Burn in South Lanarkshire is one such station. In Inverclyde, the Roman legacy is the Lurg Moor Fortlet, one of the stations established to guard the west flank of the Antonine frontier.

A vast resource of information that often goes unnoticed, because detection is almost impossible on the ground, are the cropmark sites in the study area. These indicate the presence of not only Roman sites, although these tend to be the most distinctive and easily recognised of all of the periods discussed, but of many periods of occupation of the land. The cropmarks appear throughout the study area, in arable land under certain favourable conditions, and mainly in barley crops. The most spectacular of these cropmarks set out in plan, settlement, cultivation and burial sites, and defensive structures, which are visible from an aerial viewpoint. This archaeological resource should not be forgotten when considering the uses to which the present landscape is put.
Part 3
Assessment of the Proposed 2005 Structure Plan Alteration

Assessment 19: Strategic Policy 8(c) Wind farm Developments
Assessment 20: Key Diagram Inset G Preferred Areas for wind farm developments
Strategic Policy 8 and Key Inset Diagram have been revised to take into account new analysis of areas to accommodate windfarms. This is based on the SEA objectives. They have also changed the terminology from 'preferred' to 'potential' areas to reflect the need for more locationally specific environmental and SEA appraisals through local plans.

POLICY - Strategic Policy 8 - Sustainable Development of Natural Resources

The aims of the policy will have a positive impact on the causes of climate change. Every effort has been made to steer windfarms away from the most sensitive landscape and areas of environmental importance. There will clearly still be impacts on the environment and there will need to be full assessments carried out at the local and application level to ensure that environmental impacts are minimised.

None needed at a strategic level. The potential areas are only indicative and it is important that further assessment is carried out at the local level.

Commentary on Assessment of New Schedule
To identify the areas that have greatest potential for accommodating large scale windfarms whilst safeguarding environmental resources and local community interests, a sieving exercise was carried out with the aims of removing from consideration those areas of highest environmental sensitivity and worth, where large scale windfarms would have an irrevocable impact on the landscape or local populations.

The assessment needed to balance these needs to protect the strategic environmental resources of the area against the need to identify sites for large windfarms and help contribute to national renewables targets. Targets have not been set for the individual Scottish Regions so it is up to the individual Structure Plans to identify the most suitable locations and level of windfarm development that each area can accommodate.

Due to the fact the promotion of windfarms and renewable technology is part of a national policy drive it is not an option for the Structure Plan to identify no sites, unless they could not be accommodated without severely damaging the natural resources of the area. By doing the assessment it is possible to identify an environmental capacity beyond which windfarms would begin to have a negative impact on the major environmental resources of the area.

The overall principle behind government policy is that windfarms will have a positive impact at a national and international level as it reduces the dependency on carbon based energy production that has a negative impact the global climate by encouraging global warming.

The analysis (refer to Technical Report) began by mapping all the strategic environmental resources that are listed in Strategic Policy 7 and removing them from further consideration. This ensures that at least at strategic level many of the objectives relating to the protection of the natural environment have been met.

The impact on the landscape character of the area was a further major consideration. Following the initial exercise, consultants were employed to carry out a more detailed assessment of large areas of South Lanarkshire which represented the major area of environmental concern that required more detail landscape assessment.

The aim of this exercise was to identify the areas where the landscape could best accommodate structures of the nature of windfarms. The siting of windfarms is dependant on the availability of wind resource and this often requires their development to be situated in more upland and exposed areas, both of which have not been the focus of development pressure in the past. The siting of windfarms in any of these designated landscape areas could have a negative impact on the landscape but the aim of the exercise was to keep this impact to a minimum.

The impact on local communities was also a major consideration and to protect the character of towns and the quality of life of the residents. A buffer was therefore applied around all settlements.

The results of the sieving and assessment were combined and the areas remaining were those seen as having potential for windfarms.

The areas identified in the Structure Plan are seen as having Potential for accommodating large scale windfarms. The categorisation is not a presumption in favour of approving all applications in these areas. The analysis is strategic and there will be local issues to be taken into account. Guidance will need to be developed in Local Plans to set out clear basis under which both larger scale strategic schemes will be dealt with in the areas of potential and also the parameters for deciding the suitability of smaller scale schemes. In view of these issues the policy has been strengthened to remove the 'preferred status' from the areas identified in the Plan.

They are only indicative areas within which there is a greater likelihood that application will be acceptable. When individual applications are submitted further environmental assessment will be required to ascertain the exact impact on the local environment. As part of these assessments the issue of cumulative impact will be important and the need for this issue to be assessed will increase as the number of windfarms permitted increases..

The policy also addresses the wider issue of cumulative impact by setting limits of the areas within which the Plan gives support, thus reducing the risk of undesirable developments in more sensitive areas.

In balance although there will be negative impacts on the landscape of the areas chosen this has to weighed against the requirement at national level to identify suitable sites and the positive impacts that renewable energy can have on the causes of climate change. Therefore the approach taken in identifying these potential windfarm areas is overall acceptable.

Clydebelt tries to be legal, decent, honest and truthful, and has made every effort to present fair opinions and accurate facts. Please let us know of any corrections.

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