Draft Horsham District Local Plan 2019-2036

Comment ID /5349
Document Section Draft Horsham District Local Plan 2019-2036 Housing (Key Questions) Policy 15 - Strategic Site Development Principles (Key Questions) Policy 15 - Strategic Site Development Principles View all on this section
Respondent Woodland Trust (Ms Bridget Fox) View all by this respondent
Response Date 30 Mar 2020
What is the nature of this comment?
  • Observation
Summary
We recommend adding policy in support of a tree canopy cover target for development sites.
Comment

We recommend adding new 7) and renumbering: Development sites will be expected to contribute to a target tree canopy cover of 30 per cent, through the retention of important trees, appropriate replacement of trees lost through development, ageing or disease and by new planting to support green infrastructure.

Reason: This reflects the rapid increase in the rate of tree cover proposed by the UK’s Committee on Climate Change, to provide a key mechanism to lock up carbon in trees and soils, provide an alternative to fossil fuel energy and resource-hungry building material, and importantly to stem the declines in biodiversity.

Significant increases in tree canopy cover have been identified by the UK Committee on Climate Change as a vital part of the climate emergency response and will require all major public bodies to play their part in identifying sites and supporting conservation of existing mature trees as well as new tree planting.  The Woodland Trust supports an increase in UK woodland cover from its current 13% of land area to 19% by 2050 to tackle this country’s biodiversity and climate crises. As part of that, the Trust recommends a target of ensuring all development land includes a minimum 30% tree canopy cover. This will assist in meeting the challenge recognised by the Council’s climate emergency declaration.

Further guidance on tree planting targets to achieve net zero carbon can be found in the Woodland Trust’s ‘Emergency Tree Plan’ (2020).

Proposed Change We recommend adding new 7) and renumbering:

Development sites will be expected to contribute to a target tree canopy cover of 30 per cent, through the retention of important trees, appropriate replacement of trees lost through development, ageing or disease and by new planting to support green infrastructure.
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