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Government ignores evidence and rejects CLG Committee recommendation to strengthen ancient woodland protection despite 500 currently threatened

Woodland Trust | Woodland Trust

2 min read Partner content

This afternoon the Government has disregarded recommendations made by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee to strengthen protection for ancient woodland within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

Despite a 60,000-strong petition, consistent lobbying from the Woodland Trust, evidence given by the Trust and supported by the CLG Select Committee and more than 500 ancient woods threatened by development right now, the Government has rejected the need to change wording and close the loophole in paragraph 118 of the National Planning Policy Framework to strengthen protection for ancient woodland.

The Government response states:

‘The Government considers that the existing protection for ancient woodland in the Framework is strong and it is very clear that development of these areas should be avoided.’

Beccy Speight, Chief Executive of the Woodland Trust, said:

“The Government’s statement that the NPPF offers ‘strong protection’ is in complete contradiction with the evidence.

“The level of ancient woodland protection offered by national planning policy has clearly been reduced since the publication of the NPPF. 500 ancient woods are currently threatened by development and our caseload to fight for this irreplaceable habitat is increasing year on year. Current planning policy is not working for ancient woodland – it’s as useful as a chocolate teapot.”

“We feel the CLG Committee’s report is excellent and must be used to inform policy in the next Parliament.”

The Woodland Trust has been calling for a year for a review of the NPPF concerning its effectiveness in protecting ancient woodland and will continue to push for this.

The charity has released a film today that demonstrates the chocolate teapot analogy:

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