Trees and Development
Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) ensures adequate provision for the preservation and planting of trees when granting planning permission by making Tree Protection Orders (TPOs), and by imposing conditions requiring protective measures and landscaping as appropriate.
MVDC has a number of planning policies that deal with trees, landscaping and sustainable green infrastructure.
These include 'saved' Local Plan Policies:
- ENV25 - Landscape Design of New Developments
- ENV53 - Trees in the Build-Up Areas
Core Strategy Policies
Core strategy policies that relate to trees and development are:
- Policy CS14 - Townscape, Urban Design and the Historic Environment
- Policy CS15 - Biodiversity and Geological Conservation
- Policy CS16 - Open Space, Sports and Recreation Facilities
The Core Strategy can be found by visiting the Adopted Planning Policy Documents page (see 'Related Pages').
National Planning Policies
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) includes a section on conserving and enhancing the natural environment. It also recognises the rising interest in ancient woodlands, and ancient and veteran trees, and places emphasis on these in Section 118. The NPPF can be viewed on the gov.uk website (see 'Internet Links').
Good Practice Guides
Trees are particularly vulnerable to damage on development sites and may be affected, either immediately if removal or pruning is necessary to accommodate a development, or in the longer term as a result of disturbance during the development process. There may also be demands from the occupants of new buildings to remove or prune trees. Given the benefits that trees provide from a visual and more general environmental perspective, MVDC tries to ensure that an appropriate balance is struck between the need and desire for further development within the district, and the impact that this may have on the landscape.
Whether protected or otherwise, hedges and screening, along with large shrubs, must be properly considered at an early stage of development. All trees and significant boundary screening should be indicated on proposals plans, along with any landscaping. This may take the form of a full tree impact assessment produced by a specialist tree consultant, including constraints plans and tree protection method statements, in accordance with the current British Standard 5837 (available by visiting the BSI website - see 'Internet Links'). Alternatively, on a very small site, tree detail could be incorporated into the design and access statement.
Ash Die Back Disease
It is currently not considered appropriate to down-grade the British Standard 5837 category of trees on development sites due to the potential risk of infection by Chalara (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus). Otherwise, it is not felt necessary to fell healthy trees, and infected trees will be judges on their merits. Mature Ash trees appear to be more resistant, and it may well be that diseased mature trees do not need to be felled.
A 2012 Plant Health Order banned the movement of Ash plants, and therefore no Ash species can be approved in landscape schemes. Since any existing schemes that include Ash cannot be fully implemented due to the ban, planting proposals should be modified, and can be dealt with simply as a minor amendment by using replacement species or increasing the numbers of other trees already listed.