Start by thinking about what you would like to achieve by establishing more trees. These could be economic, environmental, or social objectives – perhaps a balance between all three. Is it to enhance biodiversity, to help prevent flooding, a commercial enterprise, a community initiative, or something else?
You may already have a clear idea of the scheme you wish to pursue, or you may be looking for ideas. See our shared vision for a tree-rich Devon to inspire you. This takes account of Devon’s landscapes today, and the many different existing types of tree cover in Devon’s landscape, which have been planted (or established naturally) for many different reasons. It also explains the permissions needed for different tree establishment schemes.
What scale? Things to consider
If you are planning to plant a tree, re-establish a field corner copse / scrubby corner, increase the number of hedgerow trees, encourage wider field boundaries through natural regeneration, or plant an individual tree to be a veteran of the future, then these could probably be done almost anywhere in Devon without any negative consequences. Please use our guidance and the seven steps to help you choose the right place for the right tree, but you should be able to ‘fast-track’ some sections that relate more to woodland establishment
Different sizes of woodland creation schemes have different requirements in terms of permissions and the documentation you will need to produce:
|Small schemes (less than 2 hectares)||These schemes have the fewest restrictions and do not usually require consent other than from the landowner. However you must check for potential sensitivities (see Step 3) before planting and take additional advice if needed.|
|Medium schemes (2 – 5 hectares)||You must check for potential sensitivities (see Step 3). If your site is within an AONB or National Park you must also request a screening opinion from the Forestry Commission on whether you need to prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) via the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) 2017. Using the UKFS 2017 Forest Design Principles is recommended everywhere but is not compulsory outside protected landscapes. Guidance on how to apply the UKFS 2017 Forest Design Principles in Devon is provided in Step 4: Choose the right place.|
|Large schemes (5+ hectares)||You must check for potential sensitivities (see Step 3) and you must also request a screening opinion from the Forestry Commission on whether you need to prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) via the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) 2017. Guidance on how to apply the UKFS 2017 Forest Design Principles in Devon is provided in Step 4: Choose the right place.|
For more information about Environmental Impact Assessments for woodlands, see the Forestry Commission’s afforestation thresholds table. See also the Forestry Commission’s Guide to Planning New Woodland in England
Consult the Forestry Commission
Consult the Forestry Commission for advice on any woodland creation scheme, including whether your scheme would trigger the need for EIA screening. There is a requirement for a scheme to declare any adjacent afforestation within the last 5 years. This allows consideration of any likely cumulative effects of your scheme on the environment together with nearby schemes.
Fitting into the bigger picture
There are strategies, policies and plans in place at National, County and Local levels which encourage tree planting, regeneration and positive management of trees and woodland. Tying in with these will enable your scheme to contribute to a bigger picture, which should increase its environmental benefits. See Step 6 for full details of these, as well as information on other available help and support.