Policy ENV 6: Trees, hedgerows and woodland implementation
- Development proposals should seek to retain and protect trees, woodlands and hedgerows.
- The layout of the development proposals must be informed and supported by an arboricultural impact assessment and/or hedgerow survey. Trees, woodlands and hedgerows considered worthy of retention should be sustainably integrated and protected in the design of the development to ensure their long-term survival.
- Where the loss of significant trees is unavoidable, replacement tree planting should be provided, of a commensurate amenity value to the trees that are lost and to secure environmental net gain.
- Replacement trees, woodlands and/or hedgerows must be integrated in development schemes as part of a comprehensive landscape scheme. Where it can be demonstrated that this is not practicable, contributions to off-site provision should be made, prioritised in the locality of the development.
- New streets should be tree-lined unless there are clear, justified and compelling reasons why this would be inappropriate.
- Development proposals should put in place appropriate measures to secure the long-term maintenance of newly planted trees.
Ancient woodland and veteran trees
- Appropriate buffers must be provided adjacent to/around ancient woodland to avoid any harm to the woodland arising from new development. Development proposals on any site adjacent to ancient woodland must be supported by evidence to justify the extent of the undeveloped buffer proposed.
- Ancient or veteran trees must be retained in development schemes and, wherever possible, located in public open space. Retained veteran trees must be protected through a management plan in accordance with Natural England guidelines (Veteran Trees: A Guide to Good Management).
4.35 LPS Policy SE 5 'Trees, hedgerows and woodland' discusses the role that woodland, trees and hedgerows play as important visual and ecological assets and the role they play in mitigating climate change. LPS Policy SE 3 'Biodiversity and geodiversity' adds further detail from an ecological perspective and LPS Policy SE 6 'Green infrastructure' deals with all aspects of green infrastructure of which trees, hedgerows and woodland are key elements, often providing connectivity and supporting health and well-being.
4.36 Trees can offer many environmental, economic, social and climatic benefits by improving air quality, by acting as filters to pollution, absorbing CO2 and therefore playing a key part in mitigating climate change. Trees provide shade, helping to reduce the urban heat island effect and help control water flow through the environment. They also contribute to biodiversity, amenity and provide benefits that help improve health and well being and improvements to quality of life.
4.37 Trees, woodlands and hedgerows contribute to the identified landscape character and townscapes of Cheshire East and their retention and proper management is essential in maintaining local distinctiveness. The council will seek to retain and protect important trees, hedgerows and woodlands that are significant in terms of their amenity, cultural, biodiversity, landscape and heritage value. Where necessary the council will make Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) in order to retain individual trees, groups of trees and woodlands that make a significant contribution to the amenity of an area or are likely to do so in the future. In assessing significant trees, the council will consider the species, size, form, age, condition, life expectancy and visual impact.
4.38 Developers should carry out an assessment of potential development sites at an early stage to make sure that existing trees are identified and taken into consideration in the layout design of any future development proposal. The council will take into account the ultimate mature size of trees and their relationship to buildings and private amenity space to avoid future conflict with residential amenities. Where existing trees are likely to be affected by proposed development, an arboricultural impact assessment in accordance with BS 5837 'Trees in Relation to Design, Demolition and Construction - Recommendations' (2012) (and any subsequent revisions) shall be submitted in support of any planning application.
4.39 Contributions to off-site replacement trees will be calculated using an appropriate cost equivalent replacement calculation agreed with the council, such as capital asset valuation of amenity trees (CAVAT). Compensation for the loss of woodland due to the impact of development shall be calculated in accordance with the DEFRA biodiversity offsetting metric referred to in Policy ENV 2 'Ecological implementation'.
4.40 Proposed new planting on development sites should seek to increase overall canopy cover and make sure that tree species are selected to be in keeping with the urban and rural character of the area. Where appropriate, consideration should be given to planting species that provide resilience to climate change and make provision for wider environmental benefits including improvements to biodiversity, local air quality and flood prevention.
4.41 Ancient woodlands, including plantations on ancient woodland sites, and semi-natural woodland protected as a local wildlife site covered by Section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, are highly valuable and sensitive to a number of indirect impacts associated with development. Ancient woodlands receive protection through LPS Policy SE 3 'Biodiversity and geodiversity' Criterion 4 and paragraph 180(c) of the NPPF (2021). Woodland is also an important element of LPS Policy SE 6 'Green infrastructure' and is part of the ecological network in Criterion 3(x).
4.42 Ancient or veteran trees have cultural, historical, landscape and nature conservation value because of their age, size or condition and are irreplaceable. As such, their loss or harm will not be permitted, and they should be sensitively integrated into schemes. Where trees are found to have potential veteran status they shall be assessed in accordance with the Natural England Specialist Survey Method for Veteran Trees and, where appropriate, shall be subject to a long term management plan in accordance with Natural England guidance.
4.43 Ancient woodland must be protected from harm by an appropriate undeveloped buffer zone, the extent of which must be justified and reflect current standing advice.
4.44 Development sites that include existing woodland must be supported by detailed management proposals to ensure the long term sustainable retention and enhancement of woodland.
4.45 Hedgerows are a traditional form of field boundary, a distinctive feature of the countryside of Cheshire East, and are a habitat subject of a biodiversity action plan. Where there are existing agricultural hedgerows that are more than 30 years old and are proposed to be removed as part of a development proposal, the hedge should be assessed against the criteria in the Hedgerow Regulations 1997 to determine if it qualifies as ‘important’ under the Regulations.
- The Hedgerow Regulations 1997 (opens new window)
- BS 5837:2012 Trees in Relation to Design, Demolition and Construction - Recommendations (opens new window) (2012, BSI)
- The UK Forestry Standard: The Government's Approach to Sustainable Forestry (opens new window)(2017, Forestry Commission)
- Tree Species Selection for Green Infrastructure: A Guide for Specifiers (opens new window)(2018, Trees and Design Action Group)
- Ancient Woodland, Ancient Trees and Veteran Trees: Protecting them from Development (opens new window)(2018, Natural England and the Forestry Commission)
- Trees in the Townscape: A Guide for Decision Makers (opens new window)(2012, Trees and Design Action Group)
- Veteran Trees: A Guide to Good Management (opens new window)(2000, English Nature)
- A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment (opens new window)(2018, HM Government)
- Biodiversity Net Gain: Good Practice Principles for Development (opens new window)(2017, CIEEM, CIRIA and IEMA
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