The Local Plan for the Broads: Issues and Options Consultation

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22. Tranquillity

22.1 What is tranquillity? | 22.2 Tranquillity and National Policy22.3 Dark skies and lighting22.4 What do National Parks do?22.5 Tranquillity and the Broads22.6 Options

22.1 What is tranquillity?

Tranquillity is about more than just noise. It is also about remoteness and where you feel calm - maybe where there are few, if any, people or interruptions. When talking about tranquillity, these are common factors:

  • Feeling close to nature and wildlife
  • Feeling solitude and remoteness
  • Hearing natural sounds
  • Seeing unspoilt natural beauty

The Lake District Local Plan defines tranquillity as ‘freedom from the noise and visual intrusion, including light pollution, associated with developed areas, roads, transport and traffic, and areas with intensive recreational activities and other uses that contribute to disturbance’.

22.2 Tranquillity and National Policy

The NPPF refers to tranquillity at paragraph 102b (in relation to Local Green Spaces) and paragraph 185b, which says that planning policies and decisions should ‘identify and protect tranquil areas which have remained relatively undisturbed by noise and are prized for their recreational and amenity value for this reason’.

The NPPG refers to tranquillity here: Noise - GOV.UK (

  • What factors are relevant if seeking to identify areas of tranquillity?
  • For an area to justify being protected for its tranquillity, it is likely to be relatively undisturbed by noise from human sources that undermine the intrinsic character of the area. It may, for example, provide a sense of peace and quiet or a positive soundscape where natural sounds such as birdsong or flowing water are more prominent than background noise, e.g. from transport.
  • Consideration may be given to how existing areas of tranquillity could be further enhanced through specific improvements in soundscape, landscape design (e.g. through the provision of green infrastructure) and/or access.
  • Paragraph: 008 Reference ID: 30-008-20190722
  • Revision date: 22 07 2019

22.3 Dark skies and lighting

One aspect of tranquillity is lack of light pollution and good dark skies. The Broads Authority already has a policy relating to dark skies and light pollution, which it intends to take forward into the new Local Plan for the Broads.

22.4 What do National Parks do?

Dartmoor National Park Authority has a stand-alone criteria-based policy in its Local Plan. The Lake District Local Plan includes tranquillity in its policy that seeks to protect the spectacular landscape. North York Moors has a stand-alone policy with four key issues to consider: visual intrusion, noise, activity levels and traffic generation.

22.5 Tranquillity and the Broads

There are high levels of tranquillity through much of the Broads; in particular, there is a sense of remoteness in some parts despite their being located close to concentrations of housing and industry. Among the special qualities of the Broads are views, remoteness, tranquillity, wildness and ‘big skies’. The Trinity Broads and Upper Thurne areas especially are considered tranquil areas in the Broads.

22.6 Options

  1. Do not address tranquillity specifically in the Local Plan. Rely on other landscape, dark skies and amenity policies that will be in the Local Plan.
  2. Improve the consideration of tranquillity in the Local Plan by including it in related polices, potentially the landscape section of the Local Plan.
  3. A stand-alone, criteria-based policy, following the example of some National Park Authority local plans. The dark skies policy remains a separate policy.
  4. As per option c, but also including the dark skies policy.
  5. Identify tranquil areas/zones with presumption against certain types of development.

Question 25: How do you think we should consider/address tranquillity in the Local Plan?