House surrounded by trees

Plan greener local landscapes

The trees that touch us most are those that live among us, along our street, in the local park, beside our school or place of work. Like us, they grow and change, need space to breathe and support to thrive. Trees give places their distinctive character. Local community networks have a vital role to play in caring for woods and trees. Trees provide long-lasting good, so well-informed planning reaps long-term rewards. Take guidance on planting, felling and replanting from skilled professionals. Good landscapes of the future depend on care for trees today.


  1. Increase tree cover in new developments
    Street trees and green spaces with trees enhance built environments for people and wildlife by intercepting rainfall, improving drainage, and providing shade, natural beauty and habitat. Their inclusion in new developments should be considered at the earliest stage of planning so that new planting can complement and enhance the built infrastructure.

  2. Sustain strong local networks of tree expertise
    A durable culture of expertise in tree management and protection can connect and empower local communities and local authorities in maintaining a healthy tree population. Local volunteers, dedicated Local Authority staff and specialist tree and landscape consultants should work together to ensure informed decisions are made about their trees and woods.

  3. Recognise the full value of trees and woods
    Trees and woods are seen as valuable by different people for different reasons. We need a holistic planning approach that recognises environmental issues, development objectives, landscape character and the cultural, spiritual, and historical significance of individual trees and woods in management and development decisions. The full financial contribution of mature street trees should be calculated to inform local highway maintenance and planning decisions.

  4. Respect the connection between people and trees
    In many cases the people who benefit from trees and woods are not those responsible for their management. People should have a right to influence decisions affecting the trees in their lives. Significant decisions around planting, management and removal of trees should be informed by genuine consultation with those who are likely to be impacted.

  5. Plan for the future when making decisions about trees and woods
    The benefits of trees and woods are realised over long time periods, but are worth the investment. We need long-term planning and integrated management of trees and woods beyond short-term economic gains, with decision-makers guided and supported to achieve canopy cover targets.

  6. Take a strategic approach to tree management, planting and protection
    Clear guiding objectives help to ensure the best results for trees and people whenever a decision is made that affects trees or woods. Every local authority should have a tree strategy developed through consultation with local residents and qualified experts. This should recognise the significant contribution of the area’s existing trees, and commit to future planting.

  7. Share learning and good practice about the benefits of trees
    A shared understanding of the role and value of trees in planned environments is key to creating vibrant, resilient and healthy communities going forward. Courses for landscape architects, urban designers, engineers and planners should cover in detail the importance of trees and green infrastructure.

  8. Prioritise sustainable timber as a building material
    Timber is a versatile, cost-effective and environmentally friendly choice of building material, creating beautiful and enduring buildings while locking in carbon and supporting a supply chain of traditional professions. Architects should adopt a timber-first policy in designs for new developments, and planners should prioritise development proposals that use sustainably produced UK timber over other materials.

  9. Ensure compensation for any loss of trees or woodland
    Loss of any type of tree cover must be compensated for by appropriate new woodland planting or restoration of existing woodland habitat, factoring in the quality as well as quantity of loss. Compensation planting or restoration work should benefit the ecosystem, landscape and local community affected by the loss, and the replacement trees should have the same level of statutory protection as those they replace. Ancient woodland is irreplaceable, and loss can never be fully compensated for.

  • Trees in the Townscape
    This guide by the Trees and Design Action Group outlines best practice for decision-makers.
    Read more
  • The Ancient Tree Inventory
    The Woodland Trust’s mapping tool records the UK’s ancient, veteran and notable trees.
    Read more
  • Residential developments and trees
    Aimed at new developments, this Woodland Trust guide sets out the importance of trees and green spaces in housing developments.
    Read more
  • Ancient woodland and developments
    The potential impacts of nearby development on the ecology of ancient woodland are explained in this Woodland Trust publication.
    Read more
  • National Planning Policy Framework
    Protection for ancient woodland and aged and veteran trees is set out in paragraph 118 of government’s National Planning Policy Framework.
    Read more
  • National Planning Practice Guidance
    This government guidance explains key issues in implementing policy to protect biodiversity, including local requirements.
    Read more