Neighbourhood Planning Bill - Report (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:15 pm on 28th February 2017.

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Photo of The Duke of Somerset The Duke of Somerset Crossbench 5:15 pm, 28th February 2017

My Lords, in Committee we heard powerful arguments both for retaining veteran and ancient woodlands and for the planting of new trees in new estates. I welcome the proposals in the White Paper but, as the noble Lord, Lord Framlingham, has said, this is the vehicle that we are discussing now. So I support this amendment, as I feel strongly that trees in any form hugely enhance an urban setting. They can ameliorate the sterility and newness so often and inevitably associated with such new developments. It is not just landscape or townscape; it is biodiversity and ecology that are improved. It also has a beneficial effect on the people, young and old, who live in the new community; it is they who will benefit from these trees. Trees and plants promote respect and foster community by softening the architecture and giving scope for educational projects.

In Committee, I gave a long list of benefits associated with urban tree planting, so I will not repeat them now. I will merely say that trees add value to a scheme, over and above any detriments that one can imagine. As to what those detriments may be, I await the Minister's reply, as I cannot discern any. When he answered in Committee, he had none, except to cite the forthcoming White Paper. I thank him for what this will do, but support the greater aims of this amendment.