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Conserving and Enhancing the Built, Natural and Historic Environment

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Guernsey has a complex history, which has uniquely shaped its environment and the Island we enjoy today. The roads, buildings, boundary walls, green lanes, ruettes tranquilles, earthbanks and vegetation (trees, hedges etc) all combine with the predominant use of land to create its character. It is easy to take this environment for granted because it forms part of every-day life - the buildings we live and work in, the streets where we meet people, the countryside that we look over or where we walk - but it needs careful management in order to ensure what is special is sustained whilst meeting the economic and social goals of the community.

The overarching aims of conservation derive from duties under the Law to preserve and enhance the island's built and natural environment. A suite of planning legislation provides 'tools' to support the way we manage change to sustain special character and interest of the built and natural environment

These tools allow for the designation of landscapes, areas, sites, monuments and buildings for special protection and the creation of policy and guidance through the development plans to protect their special interest and allow for their appropriate development. Some trees are exceptionally good and are afforded protection through the designation of a Tree Protection Order. Others are not so special but form and important part of the local character.

The natural environment provides a multi-functional role of not only providing a source of food, but also contributing to the landscape character and distinctiveness (for example, grazing cows, ploughed fields) as well as biodiversity, archaeology (for example maintaining historic field patterns), the health and well-being of islanders and managing ground and surface water.

The historic environment forms part of the building and natural environment. It is made up of all parts of the environment resulting from the interaction between people and places through time, including all surviving physical remains of past human activity, whether visible or buried.

We sustain our historic environment for present and future generations, managing change in ways that protect and enhance its special character and interest whilst meeting the needs of those who live in it and care for it. We do this by committing to the principles set out in Principles for the Historic Environment [Link], providing input into policy and guidance providing expert advice on planning applications.

  • Sites of Special Significance (SSS)

    • Sites of Special Significance are areas which have special significance because of their archaeological, botanical, geological, scientific, cultural, zoological or other special interest and which it is desirable to preserve, enhance or manage.
    • They operate at the highest level of protection with the Law and its Ordinances placing significant constraints on development that might harm the special interest of a SSS. Also, Ordinance has extended the meaning of development within a SSS resulting in very few works being able to be carried out without planning permission.
    • There are 9 SSS sites designated in the Island Development Plan 2016. The boundary of each SSS is identified on the proposals map of the development plan. A brief description of each SSS site can be found in Annex VI of the Island Development Plan 2016.
    • Following the adoption of the Island Development Plan, we will prepare and publish Supplementary Planning Guidance for the whole or part of each SSS which will provide background information on the area including data on habitats and associated species and advice on how the site could be maintained or enhanced.
  • Protected Monuments

    • A Protected Monument is a monument, structure, cave, ruin or remain (but not a building) and can be man-made or natural features with human influence and may be above or below ground. They include structures such as steps and statues, as well as the numerous fortifications and menhirs through the island. There are about 350 Protected Monuments on the protected monuments list, although we occasionally add/remove monuments to/from the list.
    • Protected Monuments, including their setting, are very sensitive to new development. The Law, Ordinances and Planning policy offers them significant protection from harmful development. For example: there is no exemption development; and there is a strong presumption against development that affects a protected monument.
    • We select monuments based on pdf icon CN9 Principles and Criteria for Protected Monuments [111kb].
    • You can search online for protected monuments.
    • A pdf icon Protected Monuments Locations List [84kb] has also been prepared. Please note the Protection Lists can be amended at any time therefore please ensure you have the most up to date list.
  • Protected Buildings

    • Historic buildings are a precious and finite resource and are powerful reminders of the traditions, work and way of life of earlier generations. Those buildings that are special enough are placed on the protected buildings list for their 'special historic, architectural, traditional or other interest' and are known as protected buildings. pdf icon CN1 Your Protected Building [217kb] and pdf icon Protected Building FAQs [195kb] provides further details on protected buildings.
    • You can search online for protected buildings.
    • A pdf icon Protected Buildings Locations List [180kb] has also been prepared. Please note the Protection Lists can be amended at any time therefore please ensure you have the most up to date list.
    • Each protected building has a Notice, which is the legal document that identifies the building and the extent of listing. Every part of a listed building is protected, including the interior and any later alterations or additions, unless stated otherwise
    • You can search and download the Notice for each protected building. pdf icon CN8 Explaining the Notice [219kb] provide further information on the Notice.
    • Please note it is a criminal offence to carry out works to a Protected Building that require planning permission without prior planning consent.
    • We do have power to intervene where works are urgently required to preserve a building or to prevent its deterioration.
  • Protected Building Review

  • Conservation Areas

    •  IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please note that the guidance in this section is currently under review. The guidance document  in this section relates to the policies of the superseded Urban Area Plan and Rural Area Plan and may not be relevant or consistent with the policies of the newly adopted Island Development Plan 2016. Please refer to the relevant policies and Annexes of the Island Development Plan 2016 and contact the Planning Service should you require further information before submitting a planning application.
    • Conservation Area designation is a means of recognising the importance of the quality of the area as a whole and its setting, as well as protecting all the elements that make up the area - the streets, public spaces, boundaries, gardens, landscape and trees as well as buildings and the spaces in between.
    • pdf icon CN2 Conservation Areas [4Mb] provides further information on Conservation Areas.
    • There are 26 Conservation Areas designated in the Island Development Plan 2016and the boundary of each conservation area is identified on the proposals map.
    • The includes Annex VII, which provides a Summary of Special Interest of each conservation area. These summaries are based on a report of pdf icon Conservation Areas Report [7Mb]. Following the adoption of the Island Development Plan, we will prepare and publish Conservation Area Character Appraisals for each designated Conservation Area. These appraisals will set out in detail the special historic, architectural and townscape interest in order to manage development that sustains the special interest.
  • Protected Trees

    • A Tree Protection Order is a written order made by the Development Planning Authority of the States of Guernsey which, in general, makes it an offence to cut down, lop, top, prune, cut or compact the roots or the ground level of the root area, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree without planning permission.
    • The Development and Planning Authority has published guidance for how and when Tree Protection Orders (TPOs) are made, which was subject to consultation between 5th February and the 19th March 2021 and approved by the Authority in August 2021. This guidance can be found here: pdf icon Tree Protection Orders in Guernsey, Guidance Document - August 2021 [961kb]
    • You can find out online of a tree is subject to a Tree Protection Order.
    • A pdf icon Protected Tree Locations List [65kb] has also been produced. Please note the Protection Lists can be amended at any time therefore please ensure you have the most up to date list
    • pdf icon AN4 Protected Trees [282kb] provides further details of Tree Protection Orders.
    • Prior to the introduction of the Planning Law in 2009, conditions were sometimes added to planning permission restricting the works that could be carried out to existing trees. If you have had planning permission and there are existing trees, please check your permission or submit a pdf icon pre-application enquiry [744kb] for advice.

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