Natural Heritage Areas
The County Borough benefits from a rich and distinctive natural heritage which includes highly valued landscapes and biodiversity sites. The landscape of the countryside is primarily characterised by steeply sloping valley sides with their high ridges and open moorland. Much of this landscape has, however, been modified through human activity over the centuries and this is reflected in two historic landscape designations, namely the Merthyr Tydfil Landscape of Outstanding Historic Interest and the Gelligaer Common Landscape of Special Historic Interest. In biodiversity terms, the County Borough has two sites of special scientific interest (SSSI), one local nature reserve (LNR), approximately sixty sites of importance for nature conservation (SINC) and numerous protected and priority species.
This important environmental resource must be managed sensitively and new development within these areas must be appropriate and controlled to prevent harm. The Local Development Plan (LDP) seeks to achieve this through a number of borough-wide, area-specific and topic-based policies. Policies of particular relevance are - Policy BW5: Natural heritage; Policy AS4: Historic landscape; and Policy AS6: Local nature conservation designations. Associated landscape and biodiversity designations, such as historic landscapes, SSSIs, TPOs and SINCs, are shown on the LDP Proposals Map.
Both the LDP Written Statement and Proposal Map can be accessed via the following links: