HC Deb 14 March 1995 vol 256 cc539-41W
Mr. Devlin

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the land use planning implications of the community forest programme.

Sir Paul Beresford

The designation of a community forest had no direct statutory implications for the planning process. It does not confer a more restrictive, or more permissive, of land use planning designation of the area. The planting of trees and the provision of public access are voluntary. The statutory role and responsibilities of the local planning authorities are unaffected. Local


Capital Financing Interest Receipts

This consists of external interest on provision for credit liabilities including reserved capital receipts.The estimates of interest on provision for credit liabilities reflect the extent to which authorities have used reserved receipts to repay debt early, and are not therefore comparable with the interest receipt element in the standard spending assessment capital financing block, which assumes that no part of reserved receipts is used to repay debt early.

Other Interest Receipts

This consists of external interest receipts and dividends including those derived from Housing Act advances.

community forest teams do not have any status within the statutory land use planning system.

Planning applications are determined in accordance with the statutory development plan, and any other material considerations. Each community forest has a non-statutory forest plan which describes how the forest team working with a variety of partners propose to create the forest. Since new woodlands on a significant scale may have implications for other land uses, local planning authorities should take approved community forest plans into account in formulating their policies and proposals for development and use of land in development plans.

Although an approved community forest plan might be a material consideration in deciding a planning application within a forest, policies and proposals that are likely to provide the basis for deciding such applications or determining conditions to be attached to relevant planning permissions should be set out in the development plan, which is subject to statutory procedures.

Community forests should be shown on structure plan key diagrams and on local plan proposals maps. Development plans should facilitate the establishment of agreed community forests and provide that any development proposals within them should respect the woodland setting. Local planning authorities should be flexible in their approach to negotiating planting and landscaping requirements with developers. Any planting or landscaping required, whether on-site or off-site, should be directly related to the particular development proposal and should be no more than is necessary to overcome planning objections to it. Conversely planning permission should not be granted simply because applicants are prepared to plant trees.

Any development proposal within community forests in the green belt should be subject to the normal policies controlling development in green belts. Community forests provide an effective mechanism for achieving the positive objectives for the use of green-belt land set out in planning policy guidance 2, revised in January 1995.

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