Taunton Deane MP, Rebecca Pow’s tireless campaign to gain more protection for ancient woodland has borne fruit with the Prime Minister’s announcement this week that there are plans to overhaul England’s planning policy to provide far more robust protection for this special habitat.
As Chair of the All Party Ancient Woodland Group Rebecca has been working hard for this outcome, including holding a 3 hour debate on this and working closely with the Woodland Trust to convince Government to propose in the NPPF that ‘development resulting in the loss of deterioration of irreplaceable habitats such as ancient woodland should be refused, unless there are wholly exceptional reasons.’
Speaking on the announcement, Rebecca said:
“I am delighted that the Government has decided to amend planning policy to robustly protect ancient woodland. The ancient woodland in this country is our equivalent of the rainforest. It is an absolute travesty that only 2% remains and we must ensure that no more is lost. This is a cause I have been working on since arriving in Parliament and I am pleased that the proposed change will make the words on ancient woodland protection contained in the recent 25 year plan for the environment a reality. Sadly much irreplaceable ancient woodland habitat has been lost due to the lack of clarity in the policy wording. So this is a really significant step forward and will give future generations a chance to witness these treasured places. I shall continue to work to make a strong case for strengthening their protection via the consultation process.”
The news comes as part of the Government’s vision for planning reform and its ability to meet housing numbers.