RAVEN validated again at Appeal

Despite determined objections from the Woodland Trust and Ancient Tree Forum, a second appeal Inspector has accepted that RAVEN is fit-for-purpose in identifying Ancient, Veteran and Notable trees according to the definition provided in the NPPF. In her Decision, Inspector Searson said:

“The appellant has assessed the trees using their own in-house methodological approach called RAVEN which has been adopted for use by a number of arboriculturists and local authorities. I acknowledge there is a difference in the definitions of ancient or veteran trees with age, size and condition cited in the Framework but with age, size or condition cited by the PPG, the latter of which the WT and ATF have based their assessments. Notable are the differences of opinion between various experts in themselves on this; written expert submission on behalf of the Rule 6 Party were content with the Appellant’s identification, whereas the ATF identified an additional 2 and WT an additional 5 trees (including the 2 by ATF). This highlights the complexity and somewhat subjective nature of identifying veteran trees.

Having viewed the trees on site and reviewed all of the evidence before me, the disputed trees are all mature specimens and have value but would not meet the definition of veteran trees at this current time. I caveat this slightly as I have some reservations about tree 3014, a mature oak tree. As I saw at my visit it displays some veteran characteristics such as decay holes and cavities, deadwood, and exposed heartwood from a lightning strike. Nonetheless, in general I find that RAVEN accords with the Framework definition and has provided a detailed assessment for identifying veteran trees on age, size, and condition in respect of their values.”