The RTPI has launched a training pool for planners to help protect ancient woodland from development.
The organisation says the cumulative effect of developments on the fringes of ancient woodland could be having an adverse effect, both on the trees and the wildlife that inhabits them. In order to help tackle this, it has developed a one-hour training module highlighting planning’s key role in protecting ancient woodland, and the tools available to planners.
The training module emphasises the mitigative measures planners can enforce through conditions and legal agreements with developers including: access management plans for the woodland, alternative natural greenspace to reduce visitor pressure, sympathetic design, woodland restoration, woodland management and measures to control noise, water and air pollution.
It also highlights while UK government guidance tends to recommend the refusal of planning permission for developments that destroy ancient woodland, the evidence used to designate sites as ancient woodland is not a formal statutory designation. As a result, the evidence used to designate a site as ancient woodland is open to challenge by developers.
Sarah Lewis, RTPI policy officer, said: "There are many case studies in the training module that demonstrate that it is possible for planners to use existing legislation, tools and best practice to undertake high quality developments that respect and protect ancient woodlands and trees. The fact that ancient woodlands and trees are irreplaceable makes it all the more important that we do our part in protecting them."