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Flintshire County Council Unitary Development Plan 2000-2015
Adopted 28th September 2011

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Chapter 6

Trees, Woodlands and Hedgerows

Relevant Strategic Aims
e. Natural environment
Policy Objectives
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Policy List
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  1. TREE AND HEDGEROW PROTECTION- to protect trees and hedgerows that make a significant contribution to biodiversity, the attractiveness of the landscape and its enjoyment by the public
  2. WOODLAND MANAGEMENT- to retain and sympathetically manage existing trees and woodland
  3. TREE PLANTING- to increase the amount of tree and woodland cover through the establishment of community woodlands and other planting initiatives

TWH1 Development Affecting Trees and Woodlands

TWH2 Protection of Hedgerows

TWH3 Woodland Planting and Management

Indicators of Policy Performance Targets
  1. Number of TPOs
  2. Applications considered under hedgerow regulations
  3. Number of developments permitted resulting in the loss of TWH
  4. Extent and quality of woodland cover
  5. Extent and quality of hedgerow coverage
  6. Number of schemes which exploit woodland resources
  7. Loss of Ancient/semi natural woodlands to development
 

 

6 Trees, Woodlands and Hedgerows


Introduction

6.1 Trees, woodlands and hedgerows are an integral part of the environment, they are important in enriching the landscape character of the County and provide an essential habitat for a variety of wildlife. Carefully managed woodlands also provide timber and other products which can meet local demand, provide employment and contribute to the rural economy. Woodlands also provide opportunities for recreation where public access is permitted.

6.2 Trees in the urban landscape are less frequent which makes them a particularly important asset. It is therefore essential that notable trees in urban areas are retained and carefully incorporated into urban development. For the same reason it is important that hedgerows, whether they bisect or are situated around development sites, are retained and where necessary managed. The careful retention of these natural features at settlement edges can minimise the impact of development to the surrounding landscape.

6.3 In addition to conserving these features an important aim of this chapter is to enhance the quality and increase the level of tree, woodland and hedgerow cover. This will be achieved through sustainable management schemes and new planting, with the County Council working in partnership with the Forestry Commission and other organisations to assist landowners in securing a better quality environment.

 

National Planning Policy

6.4 The Welsh Government recognises in para 5.2.9 of Planning Policy Wales the importance of trees, woodlands and hedgerows, both as wildlife habitats and in terms of their contribution to landscape character and beauty. Local Planning Authorities are advised to seek to protect trees, groups of trees and areas of woodland where they have natural heritage value or contribute to the character and amenity of a particular locality.

 

Policies

TWH1 Development Affecting Trees and Woodlands

The Council will protect from development those woodlands and trees which are considered to be important local landscape, townscape and wildlife features. Where the principle of development affecting trees or woodland is acceptable, the County Council will require that:

  1. any tree, groups of trees or woodlands of value on or adjacent to the site are retained and that development is sympathetically incorporated around them;
  2. the pre-planning assessment of the trees and the development complies with the British standard, Guide for Trees in Relation to Construction (BS 5837) 2005; and,
  3. where the removal of trees is considered acceptable, suitable replacements that are appropriate to the character of the area shall be established elsewhere within the site.

6.5 This policy is intended, where appropriate, to protect trees and woodlands which are attractive features making a significant contribution to the diversity of the landscape and wildlife and to the quality of the people who live and work in the area.

6.6 The policy protects important trees, groups of trees and woodlands situated on development sites which are often at greater risk of being damaged or destroyed than trees elsewhere. In addition, the policy aims to ensure that retained trees are not compromised in the long term as a result of poor development layout and design around them. Before determining applications for development the Council will require sufficient information to be submitted about the trees and the development so that an accurate assessment of the developmentā€™s impact on trees can be made. Supplementary Planning Guidance regarding the protection of trees on development sites will be produced for developers.

6.7 The Council will place particular importance on the protection of ancient semi natural woodlands and planted ancient woodland sites as thay are irreplaceable habitats of high biodiversity value.

 

Other key policies:

 

TWH2 Protection of Hedgerows

Hedgerows which are important for their wildlife, landscape, historic or archaeological value will be safeguarded from significant damage or loss. Where development proposals affect hedgerows the Council will seek to ensure that, wherever possible, they are retained and incorporated into the layout of the development.

6.8 Hedgerows are a distinctive feature of the countryside which contribute to the character and interest of the landscape. Many date back to the first enclosure of the land and are therefore also of historic interest. Hedgerows, particularly older hedgerows, often contain a great diversity of plant and animal species and have an important role in conserving and enhancing biodiversity.

6.9 The Hedgerow Regulations 1997, which came into force on the 1st June 1997, conferred new powers on Local Planning Authorities to protect important hedgerows in the countryside through the application of a series of criteria. The County Council, in applying these regulations, will take action to prevent and where necessary refuse development proposals which would lead to significant loss or damage to such hedgerows. Where the removal of a hedgerow is essential, a suitable replacement must be provided.

6.10 The policy also recognises that hedgerows which do not qualify for protection under the Hedgerow Regulations, can still form a valuable part of the landscape character of the County and make an important contribution to biodiversity. The County Council will therefore ensure that, wherever possible, hedgerows are retained and sympathetically managed.

 

TWH3 Woodland Planting and Management

Proposals for woodland management and planting, including community woodlands, will be supported provided that:

  1. the planting respects the topography and character of the existing landscape and incorporates landscape features into a suitable and agreeable landscape design;
  2. new woodland reflects the pattern of existing native woods and their species composition;
  3. environmentally sensitive areas, important plant and wildlife habitats and sites of archaeological or geological interest are protected and incorporated into a suitable plan; and
  4. they are managed in a sustainable manner and are accessible to the public wherever appropriate.

6.11 Well designed woodlands can make a positive contribution to the pattern of the landscape and support a variety of wildlife. Conversely, large scale afforestation of non native species which does not respect the character of the landscape can be detrimental to the countryside and may also displace sensitive wildlife.

6.12 The policy reflects the main aims of the Clwyd Indicative Forestry Strategy which seeks to identify preferred locations for significant woodland planting; to advise on the type of areas where planting should be avoided; and to encourage landowners and tenants to maintain, manage sustainably and enhance their existing woodlands. The Council supports the work of Coed Cymru which is involved in the promotion of management of neglected woodland, to benefit biodiversity, landscape and the rural economy.

6.13 New planting should reflect the species present in the locality so that it is in harmony with the character of the area. The planting of native tree species using locally obtained seeds and stock is recommended where available.

6.14 The policy could potentially have a role in reducing the effect of global warming. Scientists recognise that the main cause of global warming is the increased level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which can be reduced when carbon is locked up as trees grow.

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