The Woodland Trust is dealing with an unprecedented number of threats to Ancient Woodland and has been campaigning for some time for planning policy to be changed to try to address these threats.
In 2005, the previous Labour Government published a statement of policy for England's Ancient and Native Woodland. This set out a vision to maintain and increase the area of Ancient Woodland to improve its ecological condition and to protect and conserve the cultural heritage associated with it.
However, Ancient Woodland is currently not a statutory designation in law and this sets it apart from many other precious habitats. This also means it is liable to suffer from a lack of protection.
In February, the Conservative Government published a Housing White Paper which proposes to clarify which policies provide strong reasons to restrict development when preparing plans. The proposed changes would amend the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to protect Ancient Woodland further.
A consultation on the Housing White Paper is currently being carried out and as part of this views are being sought on specific proposals to amend the NPPF, which includes protections for Ancient Woodland and aged or veteran trees. The consultation is running until 2nd May 2017.
You can view and comment on the proposals here.