The Seascape Character assessment uses digital tools for spatial planning to collate data to inform analysis of the marine and coastal environment.
The preparation of a Strategic Environmental Assessment required by EU Directive for the County Development Plan (CDP) 2012-2018 identified a gap and set an objective to provide a Seascape Character Assessment (SCA) within a Landscape Character Assessment for Donegal.
The practice was implemented by digital collation of data; extensive field studies; digital public consultation; public participation workshops; stakeholder and elected members consultation; literary research.
It is implemented through the CPD 2018-2024 where the practice has informed policy and the evidence based data collation has informed objectives
The primary beneficiaries are civic society where the SCA has identified and characterised areas of specific type, qualities and also areas that require policy intervention. The stakeholders are all citizens but in particular those in coastal communities.

Resources needed

Geographical Information Systems (data extraction and analysis); ecological consultations; staff for research, field work, workshops.
1 planner full time for 1 year
1 admin staff 50% for 1 year

Evidence of success

SCA is considered a good practice because of the applicability of the practice in different domains. It has informed policy and objectives of plans, programmes and proposals within the coastal region.
The practice is an ongoing work in progress raising awareness of the value of the coastal resource and the importance of appropriate management.

Difficulties encountered

The vastness of the heritage asset in each of the Seascape Units challenged the inclusion process. It did however create a window to explore the possibilities for future management of heritage in the context of conservation.

Potential for learning or transfer

There is great potential for continued learning particularly with regard to methodology to identify collectively or individually, the best ways to describe, future plan and manage coastal heritage assets through an informed and objective approach. The methodology employed in SCA can be adapted and further developed to inform future projects and plans. It sits within EYCH initiative no 10 – science for heritage: research, innovation, science and technology for the benefit of heritage.
The integrated approach to spatial planning allows for the allocation of space in a more efficient, effective and equitable manner, acting to mitigate against decision making on a single sector base and provides policy makers with a forum of knowledge exchange from which to inform future intervention and assess opportunities. The development of such a knowledge base should be an ongoing engagement that improves understanding of the cumulative and combined effects of development along the coastal region.

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Main institution
Donegal County Council
Border, Midland and Western, Ireland (Éire)
Start Date
June 2014
End Date


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Good Practices being followed by


Council of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Services and Shipping of the Valencia