Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
SP17: Trees and Hedgerows
|Policy SP 17 Trees and Hedgerows|
This policy has been superseded by: PPS 2: Planning and Nature Conservation
To maintain and enhance the rural landscape by encouraging the retention of trees and hedgerows and new planting initiatives.
Despite the variety of its landscapes, Northern Ireland is one of the least wooded countries in Europe and much of its tree cover is mature or ageing. The impact of new development has resulted in a loss of trees and hedgerows. In the settlements and the open countryside there are derelict sites which would benefit from landscaping. Some new planting is taking place and the quiltwork pattern of fields with extensive hedgerows helps to compensate in part for the lack of trees.
The Countryside Assessments - see Policy SP 12, will identify important features worthy of retention or protection. The assessment may also highlight areas where action to improve the landscape would be beneficial.
The Strategy is to maintain or enhance the landscape setting of settlements, keep the distinction between town and country and improve the urban fringe. More tree planting can reinforce and mould these distinctions. In towns and villages the provision of improved landscaping and the creation of landscaped areas will be encouraged in order to raise the quality of the physical environment. Selective tree planting can also enhance scenic routes.
Significant trees which may be at risk will be protected by Tree Preservation Orders. Particular emphasis will be given to areas where a threat to trees from building development can be anticipated. In considering development proposals, the Strategy is to ensure that features of landscape value are retained or, where they have to be removed, replaced. Landscaping will be required as a means of integrating the built development or restoring the site, after particular types of development have been carried out. This is of particular importance to the integration of new buildings into the countryside which would be greatly assisted by landscaping of a suitable design using appropriate species.