The Law Commission wants as many responses as possible by Thursday 1 March 2018.
We have been contacted by the Law Commission in relation to a project it is currently working on, relating to the reform of planning law in Wales. In short, from 2020 or thereabouts, planning legislation in Wales will consist of two Acts of the Assembly; in England there will still be around 30. That may sound not very interesting, but the consultation paper (a mind-numbing 500 pages) includes a chapter on works to protected trees. And the paper has been written by Charles Mynors, who knows a bit about the law on trees, so it may be reasonably sensible.
Charles has contacted the Association for its views, and for those of its members. He points out that the changes introduced by the Planning Act 2008 (in force in England since 2012) have not yet been brought into force in Wales; and that the exercise now being undertaken will be a good opportunity to do that.
But the consultation paper also includes a number of other changes, including: limiting the use of area orders; tightening up the dead, dying and dangerous exemption; removing altogether the nuisance exemption; introducing a new exemption for works to saplings; introducing a new procedure to apply for a certificate as to whether consent is required; enabling replacement trees to be planted at or near the site of the original; having a single offence of unauthorised works, rather than two; and simplifying procedure for trees in conservation areas.
If the suggested changes are introduced in Wales, there would be at least some chance that they might one day also be introduced in England, so it would be good to get them right.
Below are documents including the summary of the whole document, and the text of the trees chapter. Charles is happy to discuss any points of detail with anyone who wants; his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Commission wants as many responses as possible by Thursday 1 March 2018.
Documents relating to the proposed changes
CP Cyfraith Cynllunio yng Nghymru 2017 (Welsh)
Edited and Finished CP Pubn - 15 - Protected trees (Welsh)
CP Summary final (Welsh)
Planning Law in Wales - pub version (English)
PLW - 15 - Works to protected trees (English)
CP Summary final (English)