A bit of shade

17 Aug 2022

Obtaining planning permission for residential development close to a tree which has any significant amenity value can be difficult. As we all know, birds sit in them and poo on cars parked beneath, and their leaves block the gutters. Or, as an inspector dealing with an appeal against the refusal of a new house in Norfolk put it, rather more delicately, “The debris, leaves and bird droppings emanating from the oak tree would be an inconvenience for occupiers of the proposed dwelling,...” (DCS Number 400-036-670).

Also, a large tree can make rooms gloomy, will hinder the growth of most plants under its canopy, and there are likely to be safety concerns relating to falling branches. Consequently, and as in the appeal before the inspector, there can be concern that there will be pressure to fell or significantly prune the tree.

That was then. Having just emerged from a record-breaking heatwave we are wondering if it is more than a coincidence that the inspector saw the benefit of having a bit of shade: “There would be benefits from the cooling effects of shade providing foliage during hot spells in the summer.”

Perhaps householders, and councils, will start to look at trees a little differently as summers grow warmer.

Section 29.137 of DCP Online concerns threats to trees and woodland from development.