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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

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Blue Book Guidance

Author:  The Arboricultural Association
Last Updated:  10/12/2015

On Friday 21 December the DCLG announced its open consultation seeking views on the conclusions and recommendations of the review of planning guidance led by Lord Taylor. The report, the consultation document and contact details can be accessed through, which also provides the opportunity to make and read public online comments.

The Taylor report states the obvious - that much of planning guidance is out of date and not fit for purpose. The report proposes the cancellation, consolidation and revision of existing guidance and that the new suite is managed properly.

It is good to note that the report holds the view (in the first bull point of Going Forward (page 6) that:

  • We are clear that guidance can be essential and adds real value in terms of planning practice. It covers important ‘how to’ material ranging from dealing with hazardous material or tree preservation orders, …

The report goes on to recommend that guidance should only be provided on-line and be reviewed every year. It suggests that the bulk of this work should be completed by July 2013. A short consultation was launched on 21 December 2012 seeking comment on the Government proposals – this closes on 15 February 2013.

On a quick review the Taylor review recommends:

Annex A

L2 – Cancel CLG note on main changes to TPO system following commencement of the 2012 TPO Regs. (No problem)

L98 – Cancel Circular 36/78 Trees and Forestry (Great – Long out of date and replaced by Blue Book)

Annex B

L4 – Cancel Blue Book Addendum and incorporate relevant material into revised guidance (Good – if Blue Book retained)

L23 – Cancel Blue Book and provide streamlined consolidated advice (This is where we need to get involved)

Annex C

L53 – Keep for now the TPO leaflet for public use (Good – this provides a consistent set of QA for the general public)

The AA wrote with regard to this matter in November 2012 offering to provide an input as the largest amenity tree care body in the UK. As an Association we will be submitting our views, and will also be alerting Regional Tree Officer Groups and other organisations to send their responses direct to Chris Kent (or the team) at Natural and Local Environment Team, Planning - Infrastructure and Environment, DCLG, Eland House, Bressenden Place SW1E 5DU. Please either write direct or send your views via ourselves to enable us co-ordinate a response.

Karen Martin