Trees are a precious natural asset and, as a natural carbon sink, are a vital part of the fight against climate change. They provide habitats for wildlife and are important for their visual amenity. Woodland and individual trees can help to maintain air quality, provide shade, aid water attenuation, help to preserve soils and increase biodiversity. They can act as stepping stones for wildlife throughout the landscape and provide important wildlife corridors within the urban environment. Trees can also make places more attractive and cohesive, which can aid active travel and contribute to greater health and well being.
Tree planting is recognised by the Government as being one of the main ways the UK can achieve carbon neutral status by 2050. To support this initiative at a local scale we have introduced requirements for tree planting and protection, to increase tree canopy cover in the District and help sequester carbon from the atmosphere. The presumption is that the trees will be planted and retained within gardens or as part of any landscaping scheme that forms part of the development, rather than off site. Off-site planting should only be considered where space is a constraint. Equally wherever commercial development occurs, planting of new trees will be encouraged where appropriate within landscaping schemes that form part of the development.
In addition to tree planting it is recognised that other measures can also be taken to sequester carbon, for example the provision of green corridors, re-wilding, encouraging biodiversity and planting hedges and these mechanisms are supported by other policies in the plan.
DM Policy 9 Tree Planting and Protection
a. A minimum of two new trees will be required to be planted for each new dwelling (this excludes conversions and changes of use), and a minimum of one new tree will be required to be planted per job that is expected to be created through new commercial development.
b. Trees should be native Kent species of local provenance.
c. A presumption that the trees will be planted on-site rather than off-site will apply. Where it can be demonstrated that new trees cannot be provided on-site, a contribution will be required towards the Council's Tree Planting Strategy.
d. A detailed landscaping scheme and landscape management plan should be submitted for all major development schemes, including, but not limited to, details of the trees and shrubs to be planted, and proposals for how the landscaping scheme will be managed and maintained over the lifetime of the development.
Tree Protection and Replacement
e. Dover District Council will make Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) when necessary in order to protect specific trees, groups of trees, or woodlands, in the interests of amenity and biodiversity.
f. The Council will not grant permission for the loss of or damage to a tree, group of trees or areas of woodland of significant amenity, biodiversity or historic value unless there is deemed to be an immediate hazard to public safety.
g. Trees protected by Tree Preservation Orders should be retained wherever possible, unless: A. they are dead, dying, diseased or represent a hazard to public safety; or B. The Council deems the felling to be acceptable with regards to the Council’s policy on tree management; or C. The benefit of the proposed development outweighs the benefit of their retention.
h. If felling is deemed acceptable by parts (f) or (e) then the planting of two replacement trees in an appropriate location will be required.