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Ancient woodland, ancient trees and veteran trees

About ancient woodland, ancient trees or veteran trees on or near a proposed development site and what you need to know when making a planning application.

Ancient woodland takes hundreds of years to establish and is defined as an irreplaceable habitat. It is a valuable natural asset

Natural England and Forestry Commission have produced 'standing advice' for ancient woodland, ancient trees and veteran trees. It is a material planning consideration for local planning authorities (LPAs).

You should take this advice into account when you make a planning application that affect ancient woodland, ancient trees or veteran trees.

Find out more about ancient woodland, ancient trees and veteran trees: advice for making planning decisions on GOV.UK

Affect of development

Development that can affect ancient woodland and veteran trees can include:

  • damaging or destroying the tree(s) or woodland
  • damaging or killing veteran trees or parts of them
  • damaging roots and soil as well as vegetation under taller trees
  • pollution
  • changes to the woodlands water table or drainage
  • damage to archaeological features or heritage assets

Find if woodland is ancient

You can check if a tree or group of trees are ancient woodland by searching our constraints maps (opens new window).

You'll also be able use these maps to see if a tree is in a conservation area or protected by a tree preservation order (TPO).

Protection of ancient woodland

The council's Local Plan 2005 has policies to protect ancient woodland.

Development will only be permitted if the following criteria apply:

  • the need for the development outweighs the need to retain the elements for their importance to wild fauna and flora
  • mitigation measures are provided that would compensate for the harm and reinstate the nature conservation value of the locality

Appropriate management of these elements will be encouraged through the use of conditions and planning obligations.