News & Insights

New Standing Advice on Ancient Woodland – Updated Again


Ancient Woodland Standing Advice

Updated on 4 January 2018

Following the updated Standing Advice published in November 2017, there has been considerable disquiet regarding the sudden appearance of advice suggesting the retention of a 50m buffer zone between development and ancient woodland. As of 4 January 2018 Natural England and the Forestry Commission have now revised this advice again and performed something of U-turn. The following commentary has been provided:

“The advice on the appropriate size of buffer zones (under ‘Mitigation measures’) has changed. The last version suggested a 50 metre (m) zone to mitigate the effects of pollution and trampling. Following queries about the 50m zone, this text has been removed. Natural England and the Forestry Commission are reviewing the feedback they’ve received.”

Despite this significant back pedalling, the new advice does contain some significant changes including a clear new recommendation for buffers areas around veteran trees, which is to provide:

A buffer zone at least 15 times larger than the diameter of the tree or 5m from the edge of the canopy, if that’s greater

This will often be significantly more than the maximum root protection area of 15m recommended by the arboricultural British Standard (BS 5837:2012 ) although the standard does leave it up to the individual arboricultural consultant’s professional opinion to recommend a greater RPA if thought to be appropriate.

Click here to read more: New Standing Advice on Ancient Woodland

The new standing advice can be viewed here.