There’s good news for Northern Ireland’s ancient trees. According to the Woodland Trust, new legislation triples the current fine for the destruction of a protected tree from £30,000 to £100,000.
The Woodland Trust has been calling for such legislation for over a decade. Now, at last, the new legislation and the shift of power from Planning Service to local councils will strengthen the current Tree Preservation Order (TPO) system. Each local council will have a duty to compile a database of all trees designated with TPOs, and this information will be accessible to members of the public.
Up until now, trees with TPO status which are deemed ‘dead’ or ‘dying’ or had become ‘dangerous’ could be lawfully felled. The decision to remove the ‘dying’ clause means heightened protection for ancient trees such as an oak tree which apparently can spend hundreds of years in graceful decline.
Further, the designation ‘Conservation Area’ will be widened to include areas of special historic interest. In the past, this designation applied to buildings only.
Anxious people have been contacting the Woodland Trust for years about trees under threat. The Trust believes that this new legislation gives ancient trees a firmer footing. So it’s good news for everyone.
Thanks to the Woodland Trust for the press release they sent out detailing this new legislation.