Trees

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 9th March 2020.

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Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard Conservative, Blackpool North and Cleveleys

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many and what proportion of trees are recognised as (a) ancient and (b) veteran in England and Wales.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Forestry is a devolved matter and so this answer is in relation to England only.

The Government does not have a statutory duty to collate numbers of Ancient and Veteran Trees. The Ancient Tree Inventory (ATI) currently lists 160,000 ancient, veteran and notable trees across the UK. The Natural England and Forestry Commission Standing Advice on Ancient Woodland, Ancient and Veteran Trees, available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ancient-woodland-and-veteran-trees-protection-surveys-licences, directs users to the Woodland Trust’s ATI which is collated by volunteers around the country at https://ati.woodlandtrust.org.uk/.

The Government updated the National Planning Policy Framework in 2019 to improve protection of ancient and veteran trees, noting that these are irreplaceable habitat and these should only be lost to development with wholly exceptional reasons and with a suitable compensation strategy in place. For more information you can visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-planning-policy-framework--2.

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