The Government has published a revised version of its National Planning Policy Framework, the document that guides thousands of planning decisions every year. This is the first revision of the National Planning Policy Framework since 2012, and is a vital tool for Local Authorities. Local Wildlife Sites were omitted from the previous version of the National Planning Policy Framework, published in April, but following a campaign by The Wildlife Trusts they have been included in the revised document issued this month.
The new wording says that local councils will need to identify, map and safeguard components of the local ecological networks, including the hierarchy of international, national and locally designated sites of importance for biodiversity. Locally designated sites, as it explains in the glossary, means Local Wildlife Sites.
The new NPPF also improves the protection for ancient and veteran trees by putting the protection of ancient woodland and ancient and veteran trees on a par with that given to the best of our built heritage. The initial draft of the revised NPPF had improved the protection for Ancient Woodland, but had not extended that protection to ancient trees. They were relegated to ‘replicable’ habitats, effectively downgrading their status, but following a campaign by the Woodland Trust this initial draft was also revised to include protection for trees as well.
For more information on the revised framework can be found at on the Gov.uk website.
For more information on Local WIldlife Sites in Essex please click here.