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Forests: Nature Conservation

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL14933, tabled on 14 April 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce further protections for the remaining areas of ancient woodland in England.

Answered on

28 April 2021

The irreplaceable nature of ancient woodlands as a habitat is recognised in our 25 Year Environment Plan.

We therefore strengthened the protection of ancient woodlands through the National Planning Policy Framework and guidance to planners. These outline that developments should be refused if they would lead to the loss and deterioration of ancient woodland and veteran trees, unless there are wholly exceptional reasons and suitable compensation measures.

In 2019, we announced that the Government would give the Woodland Trust £210,000 to work with Natural England to update the Ancient Woodland Inventory (which identifies over 53,000 ancient woodland sites in England). Having an up-to-date inventory will make it easier for us all to protect this important habitat.

We will soon be publishing an England Trees Action Plan which will set out our long-term vision for trees, including ancient woodlands.