We believe our previous comments on tree / hedge management are also relevent here, having mentioned them in chapters 4 and 6 previously.
Has SDCC considered implementing a type of ‘tree balance sheet’ that could be required for new developments? The balance sheet would clearly indicate what the size, condition, and species of trees/hedgerows to be removed for any development and similarly include what new trees (numbers, size and species) are to be planted within the development. This would ensure that existing mature trees and hedgerows of good condition would have to be replaced with high quality specimens of similar size and appropriate species.
We believe guidance and hard standards for the specification of trees to ensure that they are of decent size and quality should be introduced. Standards and quotas (like what is done for bicycle or car parking within most planning grants) could also be set to achieve a minimum number or area (if providing mass planting of young forest/woodland) of trees/whips, therefore future canopy cover, for new developments. Obviously the number and size of trees that can be planted within each development will vary due to site constraints, but this will at least ensure that applicants requesting permission for new developments (public and private) will have to argue a case for a reduction in specification and numbers and probably most importantly, it will focus the minds developers and design consultants during the planning process.