Planning and development

Planning and development

The National Forest works with all its local planning authorities and developers, to make sure that all new developments in the Forest contribute towards the National Forest vision of 33% forest cover.

Why include trees and woodlands within new development?

Incorporating trees and woodlands within new development has many benefits, including: 

  • connects the development to the wider National Forest landscape
  • helps to reduce flood risk and incorporating sustainable drainage and the urban heat island effect
  • improves air quality and reducing noise pollution
  • helps sequester carbon and increase biodiversity (including helping to meet Biodiversity Net Gain requirements)
  • meets public open space requirements and encourages active travel
  • creates a development that is part of the National Forest character
  • increases sale values and speed as more people choose to live and work in the Forest

Local Planning Policy

The requirement for residential development over 0.5 hectares and commercial development over 1 hectare to include woodland planting and landscaping is contained within all Development Plans which cover the National Forest. It is also reflected in paragraph 151 of the National Planning Policy Framework which sets out that the National Forest Strategy is a material consideration in preparing development plans and deciding planning applications.

Biodiversity Net Gain

Compliance with National Forest planning policy is in addition to the statutory requirement to demonstrate Biodiversity Net Gain. It may be possible for tree and woodland planting to count towards both policy requirements, but applicants will need to demonstrate that both policy requirements have been met.

Available advice 

At the National Forest, our planning team provide guidance to developers and planning departments on how to best meet these requirements to deliver the most benefit, including advising on commuted sums only where planting on site is not a viable option.

We always welcome the opportunity to discuss your scheme with you prior to submission, so please do speak with us early in the process.

Get in touch

More ways to help

Plant trees

If you're an individual who would like to plant trees, then why not join us at one of our tree planting events or dedicate a tree or grove. 

Become a corporate partner

If you are a business outside the National Forest boundary but would still like to contribute to growing a greener future, then consider becoming a corporate partner.