LPP2: Site Allocations and Development Management Policies

Trees and Landscape

2.72  The impact on important trees, groups of trees and hedgerows should be considered in formulating development proposals.

2.73  Trees are intrinsic to Waverley's character, with wooded hillsides a particularly important feature of the Borough. The Council considers that it is important that development seeks to retain trees and woodlands, and enhance them where possible.

2.74  As well as their contribution to the character of the Borough, trees play an essential role in relation to a wide variety of environmental objectives including supporting biodiversity, carbon sequestration, water management and controlling air pollution.

2.75  Climate change and diseases such as ash dieback represent a major threat to the trees and woodlands across the country, while some imported species can reduce biodiversity. As such, it is important that when managing woodlands or proposing new planting, consideration is given to the use of resilient native species or appropriate introduced species.

DM11: Trees, Woodland, Hedgerows and Landscaping

Development should:

  1. retain woodland, important trees, groups of trees and hedgerows;
  2. adequately protect trees and hedgerows during all phases of development to avoid damage including activities causing soil compaction or severance of roots;
  3. provide adequate separation between trees or hedgerows and the proposed development, so as to secure their long-term retention and potential growth, including for trees to be planted as part of the development’s landscaping scheme;
  4. provide suitable, preferably native, species for planting and the creation of wildlife habitats, refuges and connectivity; and
  5. incorporate high quality landscape schemes, appropriate to the scale, nature, and location of the development. Proposals should include details of the long term management and maintenance of new and existing trees and landscaping.

Where significant harm to existing woodland and important trees and hedgerows cannot be avoided, it should be adequately mitigated for, or, as a last resort, compensated for. Proposals which would result in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats or a detrimental impact on the landscape character of the area will not be permitted unless there are wholly exceptional reasons and a suitable compensation strategy exists.

The Council may attach planning conditions, seek planning obligations or make Tree Preservation Orders to ensure future protection and management of important trees including new planting where appropriate.

Explanatory notes:

2.76  For the purpose of this policy, irreplaceable habitats include ancient woodland and ancient or veteran trees. Ancient woodland are areas which have been wooded continuously since at least 1600, and as such have significant cultural, historic, and environmental value.

2.77  Many ancient woodlands are identified on planning maps, however lower density and smaller woodlands may not be identified. The poor condition of an ancient woodland should not be considered as a factor in favour of a development, as good management will normally improve its condition.

2.78  In some cases, due to the specific conditions of a site, native species will not be the most appropriate for planting. In these cases, the Council will work with applicants to ensure the most appropriate species is used.

2.79  Wholly exceptional reasons are those where the public benefit would clearly outweigh the loss or deterioration of the habitat, for example infrastructure projects.

2.80  Development can have direct and indirect impact on woodlands and trees which will threaten their retention including through ground pollution, changes to the water table, and the loss of semi-natural habitats next to ancient woodland.

2.81  When considering consultations by the Forestry Authority in respect of felling and thinning licences, woodland creation and woodland grant scheme applications, the Council will support proposals which are sympathetic to local landscape character, conserve wildlife habitats and which include acceptable proposals for replanting or management.

Local Plan Part 1 parent policies

NE1: Biological and Geological Conservation

NE2: Green and Blue Infrastructure

Other documents or guidance

Waverley Borough Council Tree Guidelines (March 2012)

Monitoring

Indicator:

Refusal, and dismissal at appeal, of proposals which involve the loss of valued trees, hedgerows and woodland.

Targets:

Waverley's trees, woodlands and hedgerows being retained and enhanced.