'Unique' plan to plant 18,520 trees between Longton and New Longton set to get green light

A scheme to plant 18,520 trees on land between two South Ribble villages looks set to get council approval because of the positive environmental impact it will have on the area.

By Brian Ellis
Friday, 25th February 2022, 5:12 pm

The project, linked to the building of a detached house on green belt land off Chapel Lane, Longton will go before South Ribble's planning committee next week.

Planning officers say that construction on green belt land would normally not be permitted.

But councillors will hear on Thursday that the scheme's "very special circumstances" mean it should be an exception to the rule.

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Part of the land where a house and 18,520 trees will go.

The detached dormer bungalow will incorporate a ground source heat pump, ground level solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system to reduce its carbon footprint.

And the addition of new woodland on land at the rear, stretching from Chapel Lane to the Longton Bypass, is designed to make it totally carbon neutral.

"The site is within the green belt where there is general presumption against inappropriate development," says a report to be presented to councillors.

"However, it is considered that the applicant has demonstrated very special circumstances which allow for this development in the green belt.

Council officers say the trees will have a positive environmental impact on the area.

"The planting of 18,520 trees will have a positive impact on the environment and is in line with the council’s aim to plant 110,000 trees in the borough."

The plan, described by council officers as "a unique carbon offset project," is to plant all 18,520 trees this year on the site between Longton and New Longton.

They will include 8,500 oak woodland trees, 3,000 woodland edge trees in a 300m by 10m wide strip, 300 evergreen trees to the strip boundary with the Longton bypass, 2,300 mixed silviculture trees, 1,500 willow silviculture trees, an orchard area consisting of 700 trees and six metres of hedgerow.

The report says the council’s arboriculturist "has no objections to the proposal and considers the proposal significantly increases net biodiversity and provides for long terms retention and creation of deciduous woodland."

Only one local resident responded to a public consultation exercise, describing the scheme as "a wonderful idea."