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3rd April 2018

Woodland Trust Campaign – Better protection for ancients

by Brian Muelaner

The Woodland Trust have added a new Campaign which we at the Ancient Tree Forum would love you to get involved with:

Due to weak planning policy, England has been losing huge chunks of incredible woodland habitat to development which was simply not necessary in that location – like car parks, holiday lodges, golf courses and paintballing centres. So we’re thrilled that the Government is prepared to take action – and not before time!

New wording in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) could significantly increase protection for ancient woodland if the Government’s latest proposals are taken up. This could be a huge step forward. Biodiversity across the country will benefit. People will too, as it will help provide greater clarity for local planning authorities and encourage high quality, sustainable design. By heading off inappropriate applications and subsequent legal challenges and campaigns against them, it will also speed up decision-making and save resources. It’s a change that should make an immediate mark on the planning system, and a lasting difference for England’s last remaining ancient woodland.  We need your voice to make it happen.

Not everyone will agree. 

Some decision-makers prioritise short-term gain over the long-term benefits our ancient woods and trees provide. Worse, some developers and consultants actually exploit the loopholes in current policy, knowingly pushing forward plans that will permanently damage ancient woodland. Some of them could argue against the new wording. It’s crucial the Government sees public support for it.

Ancient trees have been left out in the cold.

Bizarrely the same proposals that will improve the fate of ancient woodland also downgrade protection for aged (‘ancient’) and veteran trees.

It’s wrong to suggest that aged and veteran trees are not irreplaceable, and wrong to give them a different level of protection to ancient woodland. It makes no sense to improve the fate of one irreplaceable woodland habitat while reducing protection for another. It will seriously impact on the way planning policy safeguards our most precious trees. If this is not addressed, England’s oldest and most impressive trees would actually have less protection from development than ancient woodland in future.

Have your say

Everyone makes mistakes. But if we all stand together we can put this one right. We need you to show support for the new wording for ancient woodland, and to reject the suggestion that ancient trees are not also irreplaceable. Otherwise our woodland heritage could truly become part of history.

A consultation on the proposals is now open. The Woodland Trust form will help you respond to the consultation question around ancient woodland and aged and veteran trees. All you need to do is add your details, and your views about why both habitats deserve equal protection from insensitive and inappropriate development. For further information and to complete this form Please Follow This Link.

Please stand up for ancient woods and special trees, and respond to the consultation before 10 May.  Thank you



Posted by: Julia Nicholas

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