Plants: Urban Areas

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 17th September 2020.

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Photo of Catherine West Catherine West Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps the Government is taking to protect vegetation in the urban environment.

Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

The forthcoming Environment Bill will include measures to protect urban vegetation including new powers to establish local nature recovery strategies with local business and communities, including those in urban areas. We are also mandating biodiversity net gain through the Environment Bill, which will mean that a gain of at least 10 per cent in habitats for wildlife, including trees and woodland, must be achieved by any proposed developments.

We have also committed to the protection of trees by establishing the Tree Preservation Order (TPO). The system allows local authorities to protect trees and woodlands so that they can continue providing ecological, health, cultural and economic benefits to current and future generations. An Order makes it an offence to cut down, prune, uproot, willfully damage or destroy a tree covered by that Order without the local authority’s written permission. More information can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tree-preservation-orders-and-trees-in-conservation-areas.

In addition, the Government has ensured that the planning system provides protection for locally, nationally and internationally designated wildlife sites, and irreplaceable habitats including ancient and veteran trees through the National Planning Policy Framework. Further information can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-planning-policy-framework--2.

The Government has recently announced £40 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund in England. The fund will support projects that are ready to deliver and focus on nature restoration, nature-based solutions and engagement with nature. The fund will protect up to 2000 jobs and create up to 3000 more whilst delivering against the goals of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. Further information on the fund can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-40-million-green-jobs-challenge-fund.

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