Approximately 60% of orchards have been lost since the 1950s. Where Traditional Orchards form part of smallholdings, former farmhouses or gardens, development is a huge factor in this loss.
Traditional Orchards are often associated with former farmhouses or smallholdings; they may be relict orchards that have been, or are about to be, swallowed up by the expansion of settlements or they may always have been part of a larger urban garden. It is these types of orchard that are particularly under threat from building development.
The UK BAP Priority Status of Traditional Orchards does not mean that they receive statutory protection, but there is legislation in place that can be used to protect them under planning policy.
Development comes about after planning consent, which is governed by policies and legislation. There are layers of policies and legislation that the planning process must consider but the final outcome will be determined by many factors. The information we give here is intended to help orchard champions to fight the corner for Traditional Orchards that are under threat from development.
The planning process differs slightly in each of the countries of the United Kingdom and this advice relates directly to the process operating in England. We are working to provide guidance for the Scotalnd, Wales and Northern Ireland.
For local guidance on planning and biodiversity, please go to your local authority. Some examples of local frameworks/guidance are given below.
Common Ground: Threatened Orchards - gives detailed advice note and case studies
Cambridgeshire Biodiversity Partnership - advice leaflet
Cambridgeshire Biodiversity Partnership - biodiversity checklist; developers guidance
Cambridgeshire Biodiversity Partnership - Planners Checklist
East of England Apples & Orchards Project - general advice
Oxfordshire County Council - biodiversity & planning in oxfordshire
Image: NTPL/John Millar