Tree Preservation Orders
SIR - It was refreshing to read Councillor Cox s letter in the Gazette on tree protections at Westward Ho!Unfortunately, she is very naive if she thinks the Tree Preservation Orders (TPO), Preservation Areas, or the Hedgerows Regulations, 1997 will save any trees
SIR - It was refreshing to read Councillor Cox's letter in the Gazette on tree protections at Westward Ho!Unfortunately, she is very naive if she thinks the Tree Preservation Orders (TPO), Preservation Areas, or the Hedgerows Regulations, 1997 will save any trees if developers are determined to cut down trees.In Ilfracombe, the number of mature trees in preservation areas, some with TPOs on them that have been cut down, run into high double figures in the last 20 years.Government, councils and their planning departments have more "get out of jail cards" - ie loopholes in the planning regulations than there are rat holes in an old corn rick.The entire planning process is very much slanted to benefit Government, councils, developers and big business.For instance, an order under the Hedgerow Regulations 1997 can be obtained to protect old mature trees and ancient hedgerows while they surround agricultural land, but as soon as that land is sold to a developer and he gets planning permission to build houses, the protection of the hedgerows is lost or cancelled and there is nothing one can do to stop mature trees and hedgerows being destroyed.Recently, through Nick Harvey MP, I tried to change the Hedgerow Regulations 1997 to get protection to continue after agricultural land has been designated building land.No brownie points for guessing what the Environment Minister, Huw Irranca-Davies, wrote to Nick Harvey and me. His answer was: "There are no current plans to amend the Hedgerow Regulations."The Labour Government, like councils, pays lip service to protecting trees, hedgerows and our environment. Labour has not only proved itself a friend of big business, but also a cosy, helpful friend to big developers. A Tory Government will be no better.A fine ancient mature tree can get chopped down and the perpetrator gets a few hundred pounds' fine if he's unlucky - chicken feed to a developer who will make millions from a building site.G?R Parkhouse, Ilfracombe.