Ancient semi-natural woodland felling rejected

Despite officers at the Cairngorms national park authority recommending that seven dwellings should be built on an area of woodland, a reporter agreed that the local planning authority had been correct in refusing permission.

The 1.3ha site formed part of a larger area containing mainly Scots pine with occasional spruce and rowan. Although the site was not included in the ancient woodland inventory, the reporter noted that this was not definitive as to its importance. The site was recorded as being woodland in the 1860’s and the evidence suggested it had remained as woodland ever since and the local authority agreed that it should be treated as though it was ancient semi-natural woodland.

The seven dwellings would be set in large plots and there would be some scope to retain some trees. While the appellant offered to ensure that the additional woodland was managed to improve its conservation importance, no detailed scheme had been submitted. Native pine woodland was included in the UK’s biodiversity action plan but in the absence of quantifiable benefits associated with managing the remaining woodland, felling the teres was unacceptable giving rise to an adverse impact on biodiversity and landscape character. The ability to deliver five of the units as affordable dwellings, did not tilt the balance in favour of the scheme.

Reporter: David Liddell; Written representations

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