Appendix 1 Fact sheets for Areas of Interest

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) 

UKFS – Forests and Landscape Forest Practice 1-2; Forest Guidelines – 3, 24 

Total area in Wales - 99,872ha 

What the layer shows

Areas of high scenic quality which have statutory protection. In Wales, there are five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – Clwydian Range, Anglesey, Llŷn Peninsula, Gower and Wye Valley. 

Impact on a GWC application

Contact the local AONB officer for all schemes over 2 hectares in line with the Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry) (England and Wales) (amendment) Regulations 2017. 

Guidelines

  • Contact the local AONB office for a consultation response for any proposed new planting scheme over 2ha
  • Amend the GWC plan to include the advice provided from the AONB officer and include their response when you submit your plan

Data notes 

The layer is derived from the statutory boundaries of the five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Wales. 

Useful information

Deep Peat (including Modified Deep Peat) 

UKFS – Forest & Biodiversity - Legal 1; Good Forest Practice 4;

Forests & Water – Legal 12;

Forests & Climate Change – Guidelines 5; Forests & Soil Forest Guidelines 24 

Total area in Wales- 116,208 ha  

What the layer shows

The layer is derived from the outputs of a 2012 Forest Research report identifying all areas of peatland across Wales. Spatial datasets of soils, geology, and vegetation were assessed and combined to produce a map of peat resource. 

Impact on a GWC application

The UKFS requires that we “avoid establishing new forests on soils with peat exceeding 50 cm in depth and on sites that would compromise the hydrology of adjacent bog or wetland habitats”. There should be no planting on sites with over 50cm depth of peat. Deep peat areas may also be identified as a priority habitat.  

Guidelines

  • Remove areas of deep peat from your plan
  • If you have good reason to believe that the area is not deep peat you may commission an ecological survey and peat depth assessment (see our guidance on providing additional evidence)
  • If there is uncertainty about the evidence provided, the Glastir officer will ask a specialist to visit the site for an independent assessment

Data notes 

There may be inaccuracies in the deep peat data. If you have reason to believe the land is not deep peat you may commission an ecological survey containing a peat depth assessment and we will use it to consider whether planting may be acceptable. 

Useful information 

Historic Environment Feature (HEF)

UKFS – Forests & Historic Environment - Good Forest Practice 3, 4; Forest Guidelines 10 

Total area in Wales- 63,080 ha 

What the layer shows

Features identified by the Welsh Archaeological Trusts on behalf of Cadw. They are historic environment features and landscapes that retain a physical presence, but are not protected by a statutory designation. 

The four Archaeological Trusts in Wales are-

  • Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT)
  • Gwynedd Archaeological Trust (GAT)
  • Dyfed Archaeological Trust (DAT)
  • Gwent Glamorgan Archaeological Trust (GGAT

Impact on a GWC application

All GWC proposals will require an assessment by the relevant Archaeological Trust. Any advice provided should be followed. Where an Historic Environment Feature is present you may be asked to amend your plan to avoid damaging the feature.

Guidelines

  • Highlight the presence of any Historic Environment Feature when you contact the relevant Archaeological Trust
  • If required, amend your plan according to the advice provided and include the Trust’s response with your plan when you submit it for verification 

Data notes 

The areas have been drawn from the Regional Historic Environment Records of the four WATs. Where areas of two or more features overlap, or are closely adjacent, these have been amalgamated to form a single management area containing more than one feature. 

Useful information 

Historic Park and/or Garden 

UKFS – Forests & Historic Environment - Good Forest Practice 2-4; Forest Guidelines 1, 2, 3 and 10; UKFS Forests and Landscape - Good Forestry Practice 1 and 2; Forest Guidelines 3, 8 -12

Total area in Wales- 17,785 ha 

What the layer shows

The layer identifies sites recorded on the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in Wales. The register was compiled to aid the informed conservation of historic parks and gardens by owners, local planning authorities, developers and statutory bodies. The register will become statutory in 2021 and sites can be added or removed at any time. There are currently almost 400 sites on the register. 

Impact on a GWC application

The aim of the register is to prevent damage to significant features of the sites, such as historic layout, structure, built features and planted elements.

It is important that you consider the significance of the site, its historic character, layout, design, and views etc to inform your planting plans.  Cadw’s best practice Guide “Managing Change in Historic Parks and Gardens” will assist you with this (see Useful Information below).  Generally, Cadw will be supportive of planting that enhances the historic character and layout of the site. Historic Maps are available from various online sources (see below).

Consultation with Cadw’s Parks and Gardens Officer is required.

Guidelines

Ask Cadw cadw@gov.wales (please put ‘FAO Lisa Fiddes’ in the subject line) for comments on your proposal and incorporate any recommendations they make. Provide the consultation response and evidence of how you have accommodated it in your plan when you submit it for verification.

Data notes 

This layer is derived from the Cadw/ICOMOS Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in Wales. 

Useful information 

Potential habitat for fritillary butterflies over bracken 

UKFS – Forests and Biodiversity - Forests and People; Legal 1; Good Forest Practice 3,4; Forests & Water 12 

Total area in Wales- 18,545 ha 

What the layer shows

Areas of bracken within areas known to support particular butterfly populations. The butterfly areas are derived from records held by Butterfly Conservation for high brown fritillary, pearl-bordered fritillary and small pearl-bordered fritillary. Areas of bracken within these areas were identified from the Habitat Survey of Wales. 

Impact on a GWC application

These are section 7 species and require protection under the Environment (Wales) Act 2016. Tree planting on areas of fritillary habitat could destroy populations of these protected species. 

Proposed planting that would destroy fritillary habitat is very unlikely to be approved. If there is doubt about whether highlighted land is suitable habitat Butterfly Conservation will be able to provide an opinion.

Email wales@butterfly-conservation.org

Guidelines

  • For any land recorded on this layer contact Butterfly Conservation to confirm whether the area is fritillary habitat and to seek advice. Supply site photos and basic information on plant species present and current site management to help Butterfly Conservation give the best advice possible.
  • Exclude these areas from your plan unless Butterfly Conservation confirm that the land is not likely to be suitable fritillary habitat
  • Follow any other recommendations and provide the response when you submit your plan for verification

Data notes 

Habitat for high brown, pearl-bordered and small pearl-bordered fritillaries will usually consist of bracken on south-facing slopes below 300m (although east and west facing areas can also be suitable for Butterfly Conservation are satisfied that the area is not suitable fritillary breeding habitat, provide evidence of this and we will not consider it as a constraint to your scheme.

Useful information 

Potential habitat for grassland fungi 

UKFS – Forests and Biodiversity - Legal 1; Good Forest Practice 4; Forests & Water – Legal 12 

Total area in Wales- 16,422 ha 

What the layer shows

Areas identified as likely to provide habitat for; grassland fungi assemblages, and for individual species included on lists prepared under Section 7 of the Environment (Wales) Act 2016, or on the Red List of critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable or near threatened species.

Impact on a GWC application

Grassland fungi can be difficult to survey. Fruiting bodies are only visible for approximately one month of the year so can easily be missed by those assessing a site for suitability for tree planting. 

If the area is identified as unimproved grassland, it is highly likely to support grassland fungi and it should not be planted. If the area does not appear to be unimproved grassland, you may submit photographic evidence (preferably taken May-October) to NRW and ask for it to be reviewed. 

Guidelines

  • Exclude the area from your planting unless it is not unimproved grassland
  • If the area is not unimproved grassland, submit photographic evidence using the guidance to glastirqueries@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk
  • A specialist will review the evidence and we will confirm whether new planting can be supported

Data notes 

This dataset displays 1km grid squares in Wales that have been recorded as containing either at least one species of grassland fungus that is ‘notable’ under s7 of the Environment (Wales) Act 2016, and/or at least one species included on the Red List of critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable or near threatened species; or a total of 10 or more individual species. Some squares contain both datasets. 

Whilst the survey data is relatively old there is high confidence that where suitable habitat still exists in these areas fungi will still be present. 

Useful information 

Potential habitat for Great Crested Newt (GCN) 

UKFS – Forests and Biodiversity - Forests and People; Legal 1; Good Forest Practice 3,4; Forests & Water 12 

Total area in Wales - 49,994 ha 

What the layer shows

Areas where woodland creation may impact on great crested newt habitat. 

Impact on a GWC application

Planting schemes in these areas should be tailored to provide favourable conditions for great crested newts. As they are a protected species some works may require a licence (see the link below). 

Guidelines

  • All proposed new planting schemes affecting land within this layer need a consultation response from our amphibian specialist - email glastirqueries@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk
  • Ensure their recommendations are included in the proposed new planting scheme
  • As part of verification we will confirm whether a GCN licence is required
  • As a guide, you should be prepared to leave an unplanted buffer of at least 15m especially on the southern side of the pond, consider planting that links ponds in a network and ensure rides/paths are planned to enable appropriate access to ponds for maintenance

Data notes 

This dataset shows distribution of great crested newt records collated from surveys, monitoring reports, licence returns and development proposal surveys. This dataset shows location points with a 1km buffer with some additional modelling (see link below) to include wildlife corridors. 

Useful information 

Potential habitat for open-ground dependent birds 

UKFS – Forests and Biodiversity - Forests and People; Legal 1; Good Forest Practice 3,4; Forests & Water 12 

Total area in Wales - 100,214 ha 

What the layer shows

The layer identifies areas where afforestation is likely to impact on bird species that are dependent on open ground for nesting or feeding. The layer uses RSPB habitat locations buffered to their correlating 1km Ordnance Survey grid squares. The species included are lapwing, golden plover, chough, and curlew; although the published layer does not include details of which species is identified. 

Impact on a GWC application

These species require open habitat and are susceptible to predation from species that use woodland as cover. Not all proposals within the buffer area will need to be amended but in some cases your plan may need to be tailored. If your site includes this feature you will need to demonstrate that you have sought, and acted on, advice from the RSPB.

Guidelines

  • Contact the RSPB (Jonathan.Cryer@rspb.org.uk) and ask for any recommendations for your proposed scheme
  • Incorporate any recommendations in your plan and include the RSPB’s response when you submit it for verification

Data notes 

The point data has a high confidence but is given a precautionary buffer, so potential impacts and mitigations need to be assessed on a case by case basis. We will generally accept the RSPB’s recommendation and will not verify plans that fail to take them into consideration. 

Useful information 

Priority Habitats 

UKFS – Forest and Biodiversity - Legal 1; Good Forest Practice 4; Forests & Water – Legal 12 

Total area in Wales- 248,084 ha 

What the layer shows

Priority habitats are semi-natural types included on the lists established under Section 7 of the Environment (Wales) Act 2016. These habitats include parkland, calaminarian grassland, lowland grassland (acidic, neutral, marshland), lowland heathland, upland heathland, coastal habitats, lowland calcareous grassland, upland calcareous grassland, and wetland habitats (upland/lowland bog & fen). 

Impact on a GWC application

Schemes that propose planting on priority habitats are unlikely to be verified. However, if you have reasonable grounds to believe the land has been wrongly recorded you can submit photographic evidence and ask for a review. Otherwise these areas must be excluded. Consultation Priority Habitat layer consists of mosaics of upland habitats that includes areas of upland acid grassland/marshy grassland that can be planted. 

Some data layers for other sensitivities e.g. water voles or grassland fungi may overlap with the Priority Habitat layer. Where this is the case, the Priority Habitat area should be excluded from the planting proposal and no further consultation will be needed on that area for other sensitivities unless part falls outside the priority habitat area.  Where priority habitat has been successfully challenged leading to its inclusion in the planting proposal, all other sensitivities on that area must be addressed in accordance with the relevant pages of this document.

Some priority habitat areas will also be recorded by the local authority as a Site Important for Nature Conservation (SINC).

Guidelines

  • Exclude any areas of priority habitat from your planting scheme
  • If you have grounds to believe the area is wrongly recorded, use our Guidance Note Providing additional evidence to support Glastir Woodland Creation applications which explains how to submit photographic evidence to support your assertion. Send the photographic evidence to glastirqueries@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk
  • A habitat specialist will review any evidence submitted and we will confirm whether planting can go ahead

Data notes 

This layer was previously labelled ‘NRW sensitive habitats’ and is an amalgamation of data from the Phase 1 Habitat Survey of Wales as well as other surveys carried out by our ecologists. 

Useful information 

Regionally Important Geodiversity Site (RIGS) 

UKFS – Forests and Landscape - Forest Practice 1-2; Forest Guidelines – 3, 24 

Total area in Wales - 4,820 ha 

What the layer shows

RIGS are non-statutory local designations including the most important places for geology, geomorphology and soils outside the nationally recognised network of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). 

Impact on a GWC application

The degree of impact, if any, planting may have will depend on the nature of the feature so early consultation with the NRW geologist is key to ensuring that plans in these areas can be verified.

Guidelines

  • Consult an NRW geologist via glastirqueries@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk
  • Follow any recommendations or advice when developing your plan and include the consultation response when submitting it for verification

Data notes 

The layer is derived from data from GeoConservation UK; a relational database for storing all the relevant information about RIGS sites and other geological sites 

Useful information 

Scheduled Monuments 

UKFS – Forests and Historic Environment - Legal 1; Good Forest Practice 4; Forest Guidelines 10, 11, 20, 27 

Total area in Wales - 6,228 ha 

What the layer shows

The layer shows boundaries of Scheduled Monuments which are sites afforded legal protection from damage or disturbance under Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 (as amended by the Historic Environment (Wales) Act, 2016). These are sites of national importance, being sites that characterise a period or category in Welsh history, with consideration given to rarity, good documentation, group value, survival/condition, fragility/vulnerability, diversity and potential. There are over 4000 Scheduled Ancient Monuments in Wales and the schedule is maintained by Cadw on behalf of Welsh Ministers

Impact on a GWC application

This will depend on the nature of the site and the nature of the proposal and Cadw will need to consider each proposal on its merits. These sites are legally protected and most operations within them will require Scheduled Monument Consent.

Please be aware that there is a presumption against granting consent for any works that could cause damage or disturbance to a scheduled monument.

Guidelines

  • Contact Cadw cadw@gov.wales for a consultation response if the new planting scheme affects land within this layer
  • Amend your plan to include Cadw’s consultation response and include it when you submit your plan for verification
  • Ensure any necessary consents have been identified and are in place

Data notes 

The list of Scheduled Monuments is updated on a regular basis by Cadw and this information is provided to Welsh Government and periodically updated on the Welsh Government Woodland Opportunity Map 2021.

Useful information 

Scheduled Monument 50m buffer 

UKFS – Forests and Historic Environment - Legal 1; Good Forest Practice 4; Forest Guidelines 10, 11, 20, 27 

Total area in Wales - 11,431 ha 

What the layer shows

The layer shows a 50m buffer zone around Scheduled Monuments (SMs) which are sites afforded legal protection from damage or disturbance under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 (as amended by the Historic Environment (Wales) Act, 2016). Scheduled monuments are sites of national importance that characterise a period or category in Welsh history, with consideration given to rarity, good documentation, group value, survival/condition, fragility/vulnerability, diversity and potential.

Approval is required from Cadw for any planting or GWC works within a 50m buffer zone of a Scheduled Monument. This approval is required in order to provide Cadw with an opportunity to assess the impact that the planting proposals may have upon the setting of the monument, significant views, or the monuments intervisibility with other key elements of the wider landscape or historic environment.

However, it should be noted that the setting of a monument may extend beyond this 50m extent and Cadw have produced guidance on how to assess impacts on setting (see link below). Cadw therefore reserve the right to comment on setting impacts beyond the 50m zone where applicable.

Impact on a GWC application

This will depend on the nature of the site and the nature of the proposal and Cadw will need to consider each proposal on its merits. 

Guidelines

  • Contact Cadw cadw@gov.wales for a consultation response if the new planting scheme is within this layer
  • Amend the GWC plan to include Cadw's consultation response and include it when you submit your plan for verification

Data notes 

The list of Scheduled Monuments is updated on a regular basis by Cadw and this information is provided to Welsh Government and periodically updated on the Welsh Government Woodland Opportunity Map 2021

Useful information 

Sensitive Arable Plant Records (Post 1995) 

UKFS – Forests and Biodiversity - Legal 1; Good Forest Practice 4; Forests & Water – Legal 12 

Total area in Wales - 2,967 ha 

What the layer shows

Shows field parcels where rare arable plants have been recorded. 

Impact on a GWC application

Plans that propose planting on areas with sensitive arable plant records are unlikely to be verified. 

Guidelines

  • Exclude land recorded on this layer from your planned planting
  • If you have strong grounds for believing the land has been recorded in error (such as evidence that it has not been subject to arable cultivation) contact glastirqueries@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk for further advice

Data notes 

This dataset is based on point records of rare arable plants between 2000 and 2017 which have been buffered to the field in which they occur. These records are recent, and considered to be accurate with a high degree of confidence. 

Useful information 

SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) 

UKFS – Forests and Biodiversity - Legal 1; Good Forest Practice 4; Forest Guidelines 4; Forests & Water – Legal 12 

Total area in Wales - 220,294 ha 

What the layer shows

A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is an area protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 because it contains wildlife or geological or land features that are of special importance. There are more than 1,000 SSSIs in Wales covering around 12% of the its surface area. SSSIs are selected on scientific criteria (published by the UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee).  

Impact on a GWC application

Depending on the nature of the important features some SSSIs may benefit from appropriate woodland creation under this scheme, but new planting within a SSSI can only go ahead if there is a positive response from the NRW conservation officer for the site. 

Guidelines

  • If the proposed new planting is within a SSSI, contact the NRW conservation officer using glastirqueries@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk for advice before you prepare a GWC scheme
  • Only proceed if the NRW conservation officer supports the proposal and include any recommendations made in the plan
  • The conservation officer will let you know if a SSSI Notification is required for the works under section 28E(1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
  • If the SSSI Notification for the proposed new planting is required, ensure it is signed as part of the GWC contract

Data notes 

The layer is derived from the statutory SSSI notification boundaries. While almost all Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) are SSSIs, there are exceptions. Therefore, you should also check if your planting proposal is within or adjacent to a SAC. If your proposed new planting scheme is within or adjacent to a SAC, but not shown as a SSSI or SSSI buffer, you will still need to get a consultation response from the relevant NRW conservation officer. 

Useful information 

SSSI (Biological) 300m Buffer 

UKFS – Forests and Biodiversity - Legal 1; Good Forest Practice 4; Forest Guidelines 4; Forests & Water – Legal 12 

Total area in Wales - 205,073 ha 

What the layer shows

A 300m buffer around all SSSI sites notified for biological features. The layer shows the buffer only; the SSSIs themselves are not included. A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is an area protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 because it contains wildlife or geological or land features that are of special importance. 

Impact on a GWC application

The risks of tree planting close or adjacent to a SSSI include changes to hydrology, a risk of conifer seeding, and increased risk of shading. We don’t include specific requirements for this layer but the Glastir team have the discretion to consult with a conservation officer where proposed planting is within the 300m SSSI buffer. Large schemes, those with a high percentage of conifers, and those closest to the SSSI boundary, are most likely to be subject to further consultation. 

Guidelines

  • Submit your plan for verification as usual
  • The Woodland Advisor will consider your plan and may consult an NRW conservation officer. The Glastir Officer will contact you if you need to alter the plan as a result of the conservation officer’s response.

Data notes 

The buffer has been added to the statutory boundaries of biological SSSIs. 

Useful information 

Upland Special Protection Area (SPA) 

UKFS – Forests and Biodiversity - Legal 1; Good Forest Practice 4; Forest Guidelines 4; Forests & Water – Legal 12 

Total area in Wales - 74,285 ha 

What the layer shows

Special Protection Areas (SPAs) have been designed specifically to conserve wild birds, which are listed as rare and vulnerable in accordance with Article 4 of the Birds Directive and the Environment Act Wales 2016. All SPAs are also Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

This dataset includes only the upland SPAs as lowland SPAs are not likely to be threatened by woodland creation. There are three upland SPAs in Wales – Elenydd-Mallaen in Mid Wales and Berwyn and Migneint—Arenig-Dduallt in the North. 

Impact on a GWC application

The main risk of planting on, or adjacent to, upland SPA’s is that it decreases the hunting range for raptors and increases woodland cover for predators which prey on vulnerable bird species. All proposals within an SPA need a response from a conservation officer who will consider factors such as the size of the scheme and the percentage of conifers in the species mixture.  

Guidelines

  • contact the glastirqueries@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk and ask for a conservation officer response before you prepare a GWC scheme
  • Incorporate any advice received into the plan and include the consultation response when submitting your plan for verification

Data notes 

The layer is derived from the statutory designation boundaries. 

Useful information 

Upland Special Protection Area (SPA) 500m Buffer 

UKFS – Forests and Biodiversity - Legal 1; Good Forest Practice 4; Forest Guidelines 4; Forests & Water – Legal 12 

Total area in Wales - 35,061 ha 

What the layer shows

The 500m buffer reflects the needs of raptors hunting outside the upland SPA area, as they also use the upland fringe and ffridd for hunting. This layer shows only the buffer and not the SPA itself. 

Impact on a GWC application

Planting close, or adjacent, to an SPA risks decreasing the hunting range for upland raptors and increasing cover for predators which prey on vulnerable bird species. All GWC proposals within an SPA 500m buffer need a response from a conservation officer. The conservation officer will look at the size of scheme, the percentage of conifers, and proximity of the proposed new planting scheme to the SPA boundary when considering whether further measures are needed.

Guidelines

  • Submit your plan as usual via RPW online
  • If the conservation officer recommends any additional measures, we will contact you

Data notes 

The layer provides a 500m buffer around the boundaries of each of these designated sites. The SPAs themselves are excluded from this layer. 

Useful information 

World Heritage Site 

UKFS – Forests and Historic Environment - Legal 1; Good Forest Practice 4; Forest Guidelines 10, 11, 20, 27 

Total area in Wales - 10,829 ha 

What the layer shows

UNESCO World Heritage Sites are those cultural heritage sites that reflect Outstanding Universal Value, the importance of which is so great as to transcend national boundaries. Countries with world heritage sites are required to afford the highest level of protection to these places, which means not only looking after the sites themselves but also their setting. There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Wales:-

  • The Castles of Edward 1 in Gwynedd (Beaumaris, Conwy, Caernarfon, Harlech and the fortifications around the towns of Conwy and Caernarfon),
  • Pontcysyllte aqueduct near Llangollen
  • Blaenafon’s landscape
  • The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales World Heritage Site is the UK’s nominated property for 2021.  It is expected that The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales will become an inscribed site in July 2021 when the 44th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee takes place in Fuzhou.
  • National and local planning policies give the same weight to nominated properties as inscribed World Heritage Sites.  Many Local Authorities also utilise Supplementary Planning Guidance to inform decision-making.

Impact on a GWC application

Any woodland creation within a UNESCO site has the potential to impact on Outstanding Universal Value of a World Heritage Site / Nominated Property. Proposals outside World Heritage Sites may still impact on the setting of the site. Within a World Heritage Site Cadw must be consulted on potential impacts on WHSs..

Guidelines

  • Contact the local authority planning officer for a consultation response
  • Amend your plan to include the local authority officer’s consultation response
  • Include the officer’s response with your plan when it is submitted for verification

Data notes 

The data used for this layer is provided by Cadw. 

Useful information 

Last updated