There is a fair degree of interest at the moment in this topic – as an independent consultant I have been helping a client (unfortunately to no avail I fear) to repel a proposal to develop the land adjacent to his property because of the large canopied trees on his land, and as a Tree Officer I know of an appeal that has supported a refusal for consent to remove trees to allow development to proceed.

Here in the UK the problems begin with the planning policy team, as they desperately try to achieve their allocations; if they put the site “in play” then the pressures upon the large canopy trees are almost impossible to resist. The allocations may be years old but the pressure for housing is more recent and more pressing, and the lack of foresight or Officer time that prevented an arboricultural input at the outset results in an almost irresistible pressure to remove those big trees once the units are occupied.

Will we ever learn? Probably not. If it were possible then there should be an arboricultural, or perhaps landscape, input at the outset, and a view taken upon a reasonable number of the appropriate number of units that are sufficiently remote from big, or potentially big, trees.

Will that help the policy wonks achieve their target? Probably not. The Head of Planning would rather get a spanking from the local green lobby than from the Court for a failure to deliver their housing allocation.

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