Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018 – sections
The regulatory and planning policy framework covering trees, woodlands and forests
Scottish Planning Policy and its associated regulatory framework supports the delivery of this Strategy and the provision for the protection, planting and enhancement of trees, woodlands and forests with high nature conservation or landscape value, requiring planning authorities to take particular account of the following when considering the future of trees, woodlands and forests locally:
- Section 159 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 as amended, places a duty on planning authorities to ensure that, whenever appropriate, planning permissions make adequate provision for the preservation or planting of trees.
- The third National Planning Framework (NPF3) highlights trees, woodlands and forests as economic resources as well as environmental assets.
- In addition, NPF3 reiterates the aim for expansion of woodland over the next 10 years to support emissions reduction targets and wider land-use objectives.
- Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) outlines that protection from the adverse impacts of development should be afforded to trees, woodlands and forests (including ancient semi-natural woodland, hedgerows and individual trees) with high nature conservation or landscape value. It also sets out the need for plans to include measures to enhance their condition and resilience to climate change.
- Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) can be made to protect individual trees, groups of trees or woodlands considered important for amenity or because of their cultural or historic interest. A TPO is made by the Planning Authority, under Section 160 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 as amended, and within the procedures set out in the Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation Order and Trees in Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Regulations 2010.
- SPP also outlines the presumption in favour of protecting woodland and that removal should only be permitted where it would achieve significant and clearly defined additional public benefits. The criteria for determining the acceptability of woodland removal and further information on the implementation of the policy are explained in the Control of Woodland Removal Policy*.
- SPP promotes the use of heat mapping to identify the potential for co-locating developments with a high heat demand with sources of heat supply. It includes harvestable woodlands and sawmills producing biomass as examples of heat supply sources.
- SPP suggests that planning authorities should consider the preparation of local forestry and woodland strategies as supplementary guidance to inform the development and expansion of forests and woodland in their area, pointing to Scottish Government advice set out in The Right Tree in the Right Place†.
* The Scottish Government’s Policy on Control of Woodland Removal (2009). The Scottish Government, Edinburgh
† The right tree in the right place. Planning for forestry & woodlands (2010). Forestry Commission Scotland, Edinburgh
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