Trees and hedgerows in Jersey are important to all of us, for many reasons. They provide environmental, social and economic value. They contribute to carbon capture and improve resilience to climate change, they are integral to the Island's ecosystems and biodiversity, they reduce soil erosion and improve soil quality, they add nature and beauty to built-up areas and to roadsides, they reduce noise pollution and they improve air quality. We use trees and woodlands for recreation and leisure. They are part of our sense of place and they provide for improved mental health and wellbeing.
The Jersey Tree Strategy (2022) recognises that, just as we might all of us benefit from our Island's trees, we must all bear some responsibility for their protection, maintenance and management.
The Government of Jersey aims to ensure that Jersey's legislation, policy and practice:
- provides the necessary and appropriate protection of trees, including those in the public domain and those in private ownership
- recognises and encourages the planting and appropriate management of the right trees, in the right places, by private individuals, businesses and government
- facilitates best-practice in tree management, in both the public and the private sector
Whilst the legal protection of trees may be seen by some as a disincentive to their planting and care, Government's policy approach is to address regulation, policy and practice in a coordinated manner, to listen to the voices of those who are concerned for trees as well as the voices of those whose business operations are affected by any form of tree protection, and to encourage all to see the value that trees provide within Jersey's unique environment.
The Government of Jersey has therefore established the following ambitions:
To bring trees under the overarching protection of planning law, by including trees within the definition of 'development'. This was achieved through Amendment No. 8 to the Planning and Building Law 2002, the consequence of which is that operations on trees will now fall within the scope of regulated activities under the auspices of Jersey's planning regulations. It is not the intention of Government to create unnecessary or unwieldy burdens to householders, businesses or government itself, and so a Trees Order will provide a schedule of permitted operations and categories of trees for which no planning application would be necessary, as well as a simple notification process to minimise the administrative burdens.
To review the efficacy and use of existing legal provisions to identify and protect trees of special importance.
To ensure greater protection of existing 'green infrastructure' on development sites, by dedicating additional resources to the critical appraisal of planning applications, so as to improve the quality of new development and its contribution to the maintenance and enhancement of Jersey's stock of trees.
To provide the evidence base of Jersey's stock of trees, and of changes to Jersey's stock of trees, by undertaking a tree survey to produce a database listing all of the trees in Jersey, identified through LIDAR aerial photography, and measured by canopy size and height. This survey will allow Government to provide a quantitative assessment, in future iterations, of the state of Jersey's tree stock. The precision of the data should be of use in any notification process for works on trees and it will allow both Government and the public to collate relevant data on individual trees that could be taken into account in further developing, and implementing, the Jersey Tree Strategy.
To consider the means by which works on trees might be undertaken on a professional basis, for example by restricting work on trees that are included on Jersey's list of protected trees to Government-approved tree surgeons, with approval being contingent on qualifications, experience, and understanding of Jersey's legislative and policy protections for trees.
To provide guidance for private individuals and for businesses on those areas of routine tree management for which no planning application would be necessary; and to bring together relevant strands of information on tree identification, selection, protection and the decision-making process; and to provide guidance on best practice in tree management.
To support, and coordinate, a collaborative approach to ongoing dialogue with stakeholders about the protection and management of Jersey's tree stock. There are many stakeholders who are actively involved in the protection and management of Jersey's trees, and there are many private individuals and businesses on which the protection of trees will impact. Government will provide leadership and support and facilitate dialogue with interested stakeholders through a community 'sounding board,' the Jersey Tree Forum.
To work in partnership to encourage and support private sector and third sector activities that contribute to the planting, management and protection of Jersey's trees. Government will help to co-ordinate and integrate activities, and will ensure that the objectives of Jersey's Tree Strategy (2022) are shared, aligned and worked towards by all agencies working in this sphere.