Thursday, 23 March 2017
Ancient Trees are Amazing! Let's Give Them the Protection they Deserve!
Ancient trees, like these oaks in Dalkeith Country Park, are amazing, beautiful things in their own right and also home to numerous small plants such as mosses, and animals including insects that hide away in the cracks of the trunks and birds and squirrels that feed on these insects.
Unfortunately ancient trees and woodlands in the UK are currently not given enough protection against being destroyed in the name of development. Although by law planning permission should be refused if it impacts on these trees and habitats, a loophole has led to devastating losses.
Now however, there's a very promising sign that things might change! The UK Government, through the Housing White Paper, has proposed adding ancient woodland and aged and veteran trees to the current list of assets that should be explicitly protected from development in England. This would give ancient trees and woodlands the same status in planning terms as currently enjoyed by National Parks, SSSIs or Green Belt. (Which admittedly isn't exactly a guarantee but does offer a significant amount of protection).
But things won't change unless the relevant guidance elsewhere in planning policy is amended accordingly.
The Housing White Paper consultation is the best way to have your say on the Government's plans and to see the relevant planning policy (paragraph 118 of the National Planning Policy Framework) amended. It's open for views until 2 May. Find out more and add your voice via the Woodland Trust website.