Planning Portal

Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
Regional Planning Policies: Policy CON 3 Trees and Woodlands

Policy CON 3 Trees and Woodlands
This policy has been superseded by: PPS 2-Natural Heritage
To protect individual trees, groups of trees and woodland areas of particular importance because of their nature conservation value or their contribution to the amenity of a particular locality.
Northern Ireland is currently one of the least wooded countries in Europe. Over the last fifty years the amount of tree cover on farmland has decreased. Many of the existing trees and woodlands are old and in a state of decline. Trees on the other hand are of immense importance, providing a strong visual element which helps create the varied, iqteresting and attractive landscape so typical of large areas of Northern Ireland. Landowners and developers will therefore be encouraged to retain existing trees where practicable and to plant additional trees.
Careful consideration will be given to the potential impact of proposed development upon trees. Wherever possible, existing trees, woodlands, important hedgerows and other natural features will be protected by the imposition of conditions on the grant of planning permission. Opportunities will also be taken to secure new tree planting in development schemes. Where development involves the loss of trees, permission will normally be conditional on a replanting scheme with trees of appropriate numbers, species and size.
Tree Preservation Orders may be made by the Department to:
  • reinforce a condition, for the preservation of existing trees, which has been attached to a planning approval;
  • protect trees of outstanding natural beauty or of special value to a particular area, even though no direct threat exists to them - for example, where trees make an important contribution to the character of a Conservation Area;
  • ensure the retention of trees not protected by a condition of a planning permission which are threatened and whose loss would significantly lower amenity. Special attention will be given to proposed land zonings or other areas where a threat to trees by building development can be anticipated;
  • protect a woodland area by requiring trees to be replanted after they have been felled with the Department's consent. This provision is not designed to interfere with the normal forestry operations of landowners who grow trees as a crop, but to preserve woodlands of amenity value by securing the replacement of trees which have been felled.
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