Ancient and Veteran trees get increased protection under NPPF

The revised NPPF has increased the policy protection of Ancient and Veteran Trees. Along with ‘Ancient Woodland’, such trees are some of the few ‘irreplaceable habitats’ encountered through development and now trigger restrictive policies, if impacted, that are highly likely to lead to planning refusal. Indeed, the wording of the policy suggests that negative impacts on these trees are only likely to be acceptable for ‘infrastructure projects’, notably those of ‘national significance’ for which there would be an over-riding public benefit (‘HS2’ spring to mind?!). Ancient and Veteran Trees are not precisely defined, being classified on the basis of biological, landscape and/or cultural interest. We think that arboricultural consultants are best placed to identify such specimens and recommend that they are engaged early in the design and planning process so that capacity studies and Masterplans can be informed accordingly.

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