Skip Navigation

Ancient woodland, ancient and veteran trees now have wholly exceptional protection

We were thrilled when the Government published the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) today. For the first time it puts the protection of ancient woodland and ancient and veteran trees in England on a par with the best of our built heritage.

The initial draft of the revised NPPF was launched by the Prime Minister in March. We were delighted that protection for ancient woodland had been improved, but sadly ancient and veteran trees had been left behind. They were relegated to ‘replicable’ habitats, effectively downgrading their status.

Your voice made a difference

We campaigned hard for this to be amended and so did you! In total the Government received over 27,000 representations on the draft NPPF and nearly 12,000 of these related to improving the protection of ancient and veteran trees.

We're thrilled that ancient and veteran trees now have the protection they deserve (Photo: WTML)
We're thrilled that ancient and veteran trees now have the protection they deserve (Photo: WTML)

A brighter future

The revised NPPF is a huge step forward for the protection of our natural heritage - something that we have been campaigning on for nearly two decades.  

We are so pleased that the Government has listened and given ancient and veteran trees the protection they deserve.  There will still be battles ahead - ‘wholly exceptional' reasons that could permit damage and destruction of our precious trees, generally relating to major infrastructure schemes, such as High Speed Two and road schemes.

Look out for our detailed analysis on what the revised NPPF means for the wider environment. But today is a day for celebrating the future of our ancient woods and trees and saying thank you to you all for all your support in helping to make this happen.

Show your support for a safe future for all of the UK’s special woodland habitats

Sign the Tree Charter