Natural England and the Forestry Commission have recently (27 November 2017) published updated standing advice in respect of ancient woodland and veteran trees. This updates a number of areas of the guidance. Please download our briefing note here for further details.
Of particular note is revised guidance to increase the proposed buffer distance to ancient woodland from 15m to at least 50m in certain circumstances (introduced without notice or contextual guidance as to the 50m applicability). The inclusion of a 50m buffer in the standing advice, if not tightly interpreted, could have wide ranging implications for land take of development sites and hence site viability.
Aspect Ecology’s review concludes that the inclusion of a need for a 50 metre buffer in the revised standing advice may be premature in the absence of further research that demonstrates such a requirement is necessary or effective. This is significant given the potential implications for development in England.