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England: Government planning guidance

This advice relates to any planning application that could affect protected species, ancient woodland and aged or veteran trees present at a site in England.

The English government has published Information for developers about ancient woodland and veteran trees. It directs planning authorities to refuse planning permission for any development that leads to their loss or damage.

The National Planning Policy Framework for England states:
‘planning permission should be refused for development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats, including ancient woodland and the loss of aged or veteran trees found outside ancient woodland, unless the need for, and benefits of, the development in that location clearly outweigh the loss.’

This guidance refers Local Authorities to The Woodland Trust’s Ancient Tree Hunt dataset as currently the only record of the locations of some veteran trees. This demonstrates the value of the Ancient Tree Inventory data, helps to protect the majority of the trees on the database from development and also should encourage us to make sure all ‘aged and veteran’ trees in England are on the database as soon as possible.