Welcome to the Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre

Planning for Biodiversity in Cumbria

The Cumbria Biodiversity Evidence Base (CBEB) is a collection of data and advice for planners and public authorities on the species and habitats of Cumbria which should be considered while carrying out their functions, a requirement of the NERC Act 2006.

Others will also find the information in CBEB useful: from private companies planning economic developments, to those needing an overview of the county's natural resources or to report on the priority or protected species found here.

CBDC doesn't provide ecological advice; the interpretation and guidance available here has been put together and maintained by the CBDC Partners, led by Cumbria County Council. CBDC coordinates and disseminates CBEB and provides the GIS data elements of CBEB as part of our services as these need to be regularly revised to ensure the most up-to-date and complete information is being used.


The CBEB Guide for Use gives an overview and important background to the different elements of the evidence base and should be referred to regularly.

Additionally a GIS metadata document is supplied with all GIS layers provided by CBDC, containing information on the data sources, restrictions and versions and dates of the information supplied. Please contact us if you need the metadata documentation and don't have it.

Why a Cumbria Biodiversity Evidence Base?

The NERC Act 2006 places a requirement on local authorities and other public authorities, to have regard to conserving biodiversity whilst carrying out their functions. Planning policy and guidance requires local authorities to consider biodiversity as a material consideration in determining local planning policy and planning decisions.

This biodiversity information resource has been developed for use within the planning system in Cumbria. It will assist Local Authority planners in producing Local Development Frameworks, help to inform the Development Control planning process and enable Local Authority planners to better fulfil their biodiversity duties. This information will also be of value for developers when considering biodiversity issues in relation to proposed developments.

Protected and Priority Species and Habitats

Species, habitats and sites may be afforded varying degrees of protection relating to their conservation status, rarity and wider ecological value. Those species and habitats of greatest conservation concern are protected through legislation at European and/or national level. The UK and Local Biodiversity Action Plans list ‘Priority’ Species and Habitats which are noted to be endangered or at risk. These are also listed as Species and Habitats of Principal Importance in England under the NERC Act 2006. In any local area there is also a network of local wildlife sites, reserves and other features identified as being of value and note to the area.

The CBDC Partners [formerly the Cumbria Biological Data Network] has drawn up lists of Cumbria Key Species and Habitats as part of this Biodiversity Evidence Base for Cumbria. The lists contain nationally and internationally protected, UK Priority (UK Biodiversity Action Plan) and Cumbria Biodiversity Action Plan species and habitats. Individual guidance statements have been prepared for Key Habitats and an initial selection of Key Species in the county.

Planning policies and guidance relating to nature conservation and Green Infrastructure are central to spatial planning and development control from regional to local policy levels. Since species, habitats and sites, at various levels of protection, are all considered to be material considerations in planning, both planners and developers need to be aware and take account of these in the application and determination processes.