National Landscape Strategy for Ireland 2015-2025

The first decade of the twenty-first century has seen accelerated changes in the Irish landscape. Significant development since the late 1990s has brought changes to settlements, transport patterns and the industrial, agricultural and economic bases, which have in turn altered the traditional urban / rural population balance. A growing awareness of the effects of climate change has brought into stronger focus the value and significance of the national landscape as a physical, economic and cultural resource and setting that is vulnerable to change. The landscape requires active management if we are to develop these resources in a sustainable manner.

Such changes are being experienced throughout the landscape of Europe and in much of the wider world. The European Landscape Convention was adopted in 2000 as a new Council of Europe instrument with which to guide the management, planning and protection of all landscapes in Europe. Ireland is a signatory to this Convention.

In this context, Heather Humphreys, T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, published and launched a National Landscape Strategy for Ireland 2015-2025 on the 26th May 2015. The National Landscape Strategy will be used to ensure compliance with the Council of Europe’s European Landscape Convention (ELC) and to establish principles that will provide a high level policy framework to achieve balance between the management, planning and protection of the landscape by way of supporting actions. 

The traditional view of landscape related to places, generally rural, of scenic beauty. The definition of landscape in the Convention introduced the concept of landscape as a dynamic system, the result of the action and interaction between natural and human factors. It is not confined to the countryside; it covers urban and rural areas, encompassing land, inland waters, coastal and marine areas. It deals with every-day and degraded landscapes, as well as those considered to be exceptional. It recognises the importance of all landscapes as having a crucial bearing on our quality of life and as deserving attention in landscape policy.

The strategy contains six core objectives which focus on developing appropriate landscape policies dealing with Landscape Character Assessment, education, awareness and strengthening public participation. These objectives are supported by nineteen actions. The core objective is to allow for the sustainable management of change, and is not about the freezing of the landscape at a particular point in its continuing evolution while anticipating and managing challenges between present and emerging land uses.


The National Landscape Strategy can be found on the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht website or at the following link