Thursday 30 September 2021
The Development & Planning Authority has published guidance on Tree Protection Orders (TPOs), giving stakeholders and developers information relevant to Guernsey on how and when TPOs will be made.
This workstream was identified following feedback from the Planning Tribunal in the appeal against the TPO at La Pointe. Previously, guidance was not available publicly ahead of a planning application being submitted. The guidance document has also been updated to make it relevant to Guernsey's tree stock.
Trees are an important element of the Island, and since the loss during the 1990s of the greater proportion of the Island's mature trees to Dutch Elm Disease, the remaining trees are of even greater importance. This is especially the case as Guernsey has a very small proportion of woodland cover.
The TPO guidance document has been subject to a consultation with targeted stakeholders including Tree Surgeons, Agents that act of behalf of developers, Parish Constables and States' Committees. Several responses were received, and the guidance was updated to clarify that:
- Trees are not only an important part of the character of the Island, they also contribute to the health and well-being of Islanders, biodiversity and provide important habitats;
- Wherever possible, TPO assessments need to be made by suitably qualified persons;
- TPOs will not be used to stop or delay development;
- Trees subject to a TPO need to be managed so that, in the long term, the amenity value of the trees is sustained. In some instances, this might require the selective removal of trees so that others can thrive; and
- Even if not subject to a TPO, planning permission is needed to fell a tree within a Site of Special Significance.
Deputy Victoria Olivier, President of the Development & Planning Authority, said:
"We are pleased to approve this guidance as it helps communicate to potential developers the TPO process, including which trees may likely be subject to a TPO on receipt of an application for planning permission. However, I would like to stress that this will not be used to delay developments.
"It also highlights the importance of protecting and managing trees, not just in preserving the natural beauty of our island, but also through other benefits such as our own health and well-being, providing habitats for wildlife and mitigating biodiversity loss."
The guidance document can be found at https://gov.gg/built_natural_historic_environment.