Local Development Plan (LDP) policies on environment are listed below:

Policy ENV1: Listed Buildings

Listed buildings play an important role in defining and enhancing the quality of East Ayrshire’s environment and contribute to the character of local communities. The Council will support:

  • The retention and preservation of all listed buildings and buildings within conservation areas
  • The adaption and re-use of listed buildings and buildings within conservation areas to meet modern requirements, where this can be achieved in a manner sensitive to the character of the building.

Proposals for the total or partial demolition of a listed building will only be supported where it can be demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that every effort has been made to retain the building.  Demolition will only be acceptable where it can be evidenced that:

  1. the building is not of special interest; or
  2. the building is incapable of repair; or
  3. the demolition of the building is essential to delivering significant benefits to economic growth or the wider community; or
  4. the repair of the building is not economically viable and that it has been marketed at a price reflecting its location and condition to potential purchasers for a reasonable period.

Policy ENV2: Scheduled Monuments and Archaeological Resources

Development that would have an adverse effect on Scheduled Monuments or on their settings shall not be supported unless there are exceptional overriding circumstances.

Other archaeological resources should be preserved in situ wherever possible. The developer may be required to supply a archaeological evaluation report prior to the determination of a planning application.  Where the case for preservation does not prevail the developer shall be required to make appropriate and satisfactory provision for archaeological excavation, recording, analysis and publication in advance of development.

Policy ENV3: Conservation Areas

Development or demolition within a conservation area or affecting its setting, shall preserve and enhance its character and be consistent with any relevant conservation area appraisal or management plan. Any development should be sympathetic to the area in terms of its layout, size, scale, design, siting, material and colour and should seek to enhance the architectural and historic qualities of the area. 

Where a building contributes positively to the character of a conservation area, its proposed demolition should be assessed against the criteria contained in ENV1. Where it does not contribute to the character, demolition will be supported where a high quality redevelopment or, in exceptional circumstances, a landscaping scheme is proposed as a replacement.

Policy ENV4: Gardens and Designed Landscapes

Gardens and Designed Landscapes included in the National Inventory, and those of regional and local importance, are protected and their enhancement encouraged.  Development will not be supported where it will have significant adverse impacts upon:

  1. its character
  2. important views to, from and within it
  3. important features that contribute to its value and that justify its designation, where applicable

Where a proposed development will impact on a Garden and Designed Landscape, the developer will be expected to provide a landscape management plan, to identify conservation needs and direct how change can best be accommodated.

Policy ENV5: Historic Battlefields

Historic Battlefields included in the National Inventory are protected, conserved and managed, so as to conserve their important features and enable greater understanding of their historic importance and role.

Development will not be supported where it will significantly impact upon the key landscape characteristics and important features that underpin understanding and appreciation of the Battlefield.

Where development on a Battlefield is deemed appropriate, any adverse impacts should be avoided or mitigated, through location and design details. Where possible, opportunities for positive enhancements should be identified, which will help improve interpretation and understanding of the Battlefield.

Policy ENV6: Nature Conservation

The importance of nature conservation and biodiversity will be fully recognised in the assessment of development proposals. This will be achieved by ensuring that:

  1. Any development likely to have a significant effect on a Natura 2000 site which is not directly connected with or necessary to its conservation management must be subject to a “Habitats Regulations Appraisal”. Such development will only be approved if the appraisal shows that there will be no adverse effect on the integrity of the site
  2. Any development affecting a SSSI will only be permitted where it will not adversely affect the integrity of the area or the qualities for which it has been designated or where any significant adverse effects on the qualities for which it is designated are clearly outweighed by social, environmental or economic benefits of national importance.
  3. Any development that may adversely impact on areas of local importance for nature conservation, including provisional wildlife sites, local geodiversity sites and local nature reserves, will be expected to demonstrate how any impact can be avoided or mitigated.
  4. If there is evidence that protected species may be affected by a development, steps must be taken to establish their presence. The planning and design of any development which has the potential to impact on a protected species will require to take into account the level of protection afforded by legislation and any impacts must be fully considered prior to the submission of any planning application.
  5. Any new development must protect, and where appropriate incorporate and/or extend, existing habitat networks, helping to further develop the Central Scotland Green Network in Ayrshire.

The Council will apply ‘the precautionary principle’ where the impacts of a proposed development on nationally or internationally significant natural heritage resources are uncertain but there is sound evidence indicating that significant irreversible damage could occur.

Policy ENV7: Wild Land and Sensitive Landscape Areas

Areas of wild land, as identified on the 2014 SNH map of wild land areas, have little or no scope to accommodate new development and are safeguarded on the LDP maps. (PDF 14.7Mb) Any development proposed must be able to demonstrate that any adverse effects on the qualities of wild land can be substantially overcome by siting, design or other mitigation.

The Council will give priority and prime consideration to the protection and enhancement of the landscape in its consideration of development proposals within the Sensitive Landscape Areas identified on the  LDP maps. (PDF 14.7Mb)

Any development deemed to have unacceptable impacts on wild land and SLAs will not be supported by the Council. All development proposals within these areas will also require to be assessed against policy ENV 8: Protecting and Enhancing the Landscape.

Non-statutory guidance on Sensitive Landscape Areas supports policy ENV 7 by providing further detail on which particular qualities make the SLA valuable and important on a local and regional scale.

Policy ENV8: Protecting and Enhancing the Landscape

The protection and enhancement of East Ayrshire’s landscape character as identified in the Ayrshire Landscape Character Assessment will be a key consideration in assessing the appropriateness of development proposals in the rural area.  The Council will require that:

  1. Development proposals are sited and designed to respect the nature and landscape character of the area and to minimise visual impact.  Particular attention will be paid to size, scale, layout, materials, design, finish and colour.
  2. Where visual impacts are unavoidable, development proposals should include adequate mitigation measures to minimise such impacts on the landscape.
  3. Particular features that contribute to the value, quality and character of the landscape are conserved and enhanced.  Development that would result in the loss of valuable landscape features, to such an extent that character and value of the landscape, are unacceptably diminished, will not be supported. Such landscape features include:
    • (a) settings of settlements and buildings within the landscape;
    • (b) skylines, distinctive landform features, landmark hills and prominent views;
    • (c) woodlands, hedgerows and trees;
    • (d) field patterns and means of enclosure, including dry stone dykes; and
    • (e) rights of way and footpaths

Development that would create unacceptable visual intrusion or irreparable damage to landscape character will not be supported by the Council.

Policy ENV9: Trees, Woodland and Forestry

The Council will support the retention of individual trees, hedgerows and woodlands within both settlements and rural areas, where such trees contribute to the amenity, nature conservation and landscape value of the area.  There will be a presumption against the felling of ancient semi-natural woodlands and trees protected by Preservation Orders.

The Council will support proposals for woodland and forestry expansion where they:

  1. are consistent with the Ayrshire and Arran Forestry and Woodland Strategy (PDF 23Mb) and contribute to Ayrshire’s green network
  2. take account of the landscape and ecological qualities of the area
  3. demonstrate that recreational opportunities have been fully considered

Proposals that involve the removal of woodland will only be supported where it would achieve significant and clearly defined public benefits and is in line with the Scottish Government’s Control of Woodland Policy.  Where removal can be fully justified, compensatory planting will be required to the satisfaction of the Council and Forestry Commission Scotland and in line with the provisions of the Ayrshire and Arran Forestry & Woodland Strategy (PDF 23 Mb) which forms Supplementary Guidance to this LDP.

Non statutory guidance in the form of The Ayrshire and Arran Forestry and Woodland Strategy (PDF 23Mb)supports policy ENV 9 by providing detailed guidance on the most appropriate tree species and locations for woodland removal and creation.

Policy ENV10: Carbon rich soils Environmental Protection Policies

In recognition of the role of peatland soils as valuable carbon stores or “sinks”,  the Council will seek to minimise adverse impacts from development on such soils, including by the release of CO2 to the atmosphere. The Council will support and promote the restoration of peatland habitats, where there is potential for such habitats to become active carbon stores and help to reduce net carbon emissions.

However, development may be permitted for renewable energy generating developments on carbon rich soils where it can be demonstrated (in accordance with the Scottish Government’s ‘carbon calculator’ or other equivalent evidence) that the balance of advantage in terms of climate change mitigation lies with the energy generation proposal, and that any significant effects on these areas can be substantially overcome by siting, design or other mitigation.

Policy ENV11: Flood Prevention

The Council will take a precautionary approach to flood risk from all sources and will promote flood avoidance in the first instance. Flood storage and conveying capacity will be protected and development will be directed away from functional flood plains and undeveloped areas of medium to high flood risk.

The Council will identify and protect existing land uses that provide or have the potential to provide natural flood management.  The council will also encourage new flood management measures, including flood protection schemes, restoring natural features, enhancing flood storage capacity and avoiding the construction of new culverts and the opening of existing culverts.

The Flood Risk Framework contained in SPP, summarised in table 7 below and outlined fully in Schedule 7, will be used in the assessment of development proposals. This sets out the type of development that will be appropriate in each category of flood risk and indicates where Flood Risk Assessments are likely to be required.  The flood risk categories are shown on SEPA’s flood maps.  All FRAs will require to be carried out to the satisfaction of SEPA. 

Flood Risk Framework
Category of flood riskAppropriate level of developmentRequirement for Flood Risk Assessment

Little or no risk (Annual chance of flooding is less than 0.1% or once in 1000 years)

No constraints to development


Low to medium risk (Annual chance of flooding 0.1% - 0.5% or once in 1000 to once in 200 years)

Suitable for most development

Generally unsuitable for civil infrastructure (hospitals, fire stations, schools, emergency depots, care homes, ground based electrical and telecoms equipment)

Dependent on level of flood risk and nature of proposal.  Where flood risk is close to 0.5% or proposal is for essential infrastructure or vulnerable uses, FRA will be required.

Medium to high risk (Annual chance of flooding is greater than 0.5% or greater than once in 200 years)

Generally suitable for residential, institutional, commercial and essential infrastructure development within built-up areas, subject to appropriate flood protection measures.

Generally unsuitable for any civil infrastructure and most vulnerable uses;

Generally unsuitable for any new developments in undeveloped and sparsely developed areas.

Water resistant and resilient building materials should be used.


Surface water flooding

All developments should be designed to be free from surface water flooding in rainfall events where the annual probability of occurrence is greater than 0.5%.  Mitigation measures should not have an adverse effect on the risk of flooding off site, taking account of rain falling on the site and run-off from adjacent areas.

Table 7 The Flood Risk Framework

In addition to applying the risk framework, development proposals should:

  • Take into account the specific characteristics of the site, the proposed development and the surrounding land uses;
  • Where appropriate, ensure that water resistant and/or resilient construction materials and measures are used;
  • Minimise impermeable surfaces and incorporate sustainable drainage systems, with adequate maintenance arrangements, to avoid increased surface water flooding;
  • Ensure flood protection measures allow a ‘freeboard allowance’, whereby additional height should be added to the predicted level of a flood to make allowances for uncertainties in the predictions.  Design, solutions should also include some leeway for the unknown effects of climate change;
  • Avoid land raising, which will only be acceptable where it has a neutral or better impact on flood risk outside of the raised area.  Land raising will only be acceptable in the undeveloped or sparsely developed flood plain when it can be demonstrated that the proposed location is essential for operational reasons and a lower risk location is not available; and
  • Be accompanied by a Drainage Assessment, to the satisfaction of the Council, where drainage is already constrained or problematic.

Policy ENV12: Water, air and light and noise pollution


In line with the Water Framework Directive, the Council will give priority to maintaining and improving the quality of all water bodies and ground water.  There will be a presumption against any development that will have an adverse impact on the water environment in terms of pollution levels and the ecological value of water habitats.

Where developments are proposed on or close to existing water bodies, design solutions should explore how best to maintain their water quality and, where possible improve the water bodies through maintaining them as wildlife corridors where biodiversity can be improved. Maintenance access buffer strips of a minimum 6 metres in width should be provided between the development and the adjacent watercourse.

The Council will not be supportive of developments which will, or which have the potential to, cause significant adverse impacts on water bodies as a result of morphological changes to water bodies such as engineering activities in the form of culverts or changes to the banks or bed.

Development will be required to connect to the public sewerage system, where possible, and manage surface water through sustainable drainage systems (SuDS).


All developers will be required to ensure that their proposals have minimal adverse impact on air quality.  Air quality assessments will be required for any proposed development which the Council considers may significantly impact upon air quality, either on its own or cumulatively.  Development that will have a significant adverse impact on air quality will not be supported.


All development proposals must incorporate design measures which minimise or reduce light pollution.  Developers will require to demonstrate that consideration has been given to reducing light pollution, by minimising unnecessary lighting and using the most appropriate forms of lighting to carry out specific tasks.  Within the Dark Sky Park and surrounding area, particular priority is given to minimising light pollution, to maintain the integrity of the designation.


All new development must take full account of any Noise Action Plan and Noise Management Areas that are in operation in the area and ensure that significant adverse noise impacts on surrounding properties and uses are avoided. A noise impact assessment may be required in this regard and noise mitigation measures may be required through planning conditions and/or Section 75 Obligations.

Policy ENV13: Contaminated Land

In cases where a development is proposed on land which is known or suspected to be contaminated, the Council will require the developer to investigate and identify the nature of the contamination and to detail the remedial measures to be undertaken to treat or remove that contamination, as an integral part of any planning application.  In this regard, developers will be required to carry out a Risk Assessment of the development site as detailed in PAN33: Development of Contaminated Land, Annex 1. Where site conditions are appropriate, consideration should be given to both radioactive and non-radioactive sources of contamination.

Policy ENV14 Low and Zero Carbon Buildings

In order to meet with the requirements of Section 3F of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (as amended), development proposals will be required to incorporate low and zero carbon generating technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Proposals for all new buildings will require to demonstrate that at least 10% of the carbon emissions reduction standard set by the Scottish Building Standards (2010) will be met through the installation and operation of zero carbon generating technologies. This percentage will increase to 15% from the beginning of 2019 and will be reviewed in 2021.

These requirements will not apply to:

  1. Alterations and extensions to existing buildings
  2. Change of use or conversion of existing buildings
  3. Ancillary buildings that are "stand-alone" and have an area of less than 50 sq m
  4. Buildings which will not be heated or cooled, other than by heating to protect from frost
  5. Buildings which have an intended life of less than two years

Compliance with this requirement will be demonstrated by the submission of a low carbon development statement.

Contact Information

Planning & Economic Development
Telephone: 01563 576790