Appendix 2 Fact sheets for Special Guidance Layers

Acid Sensitive Waterbodies 

UKFS – Forests and Water - Good Forest Practice 11; Forest Guidelines 1,2,6 

Total area in Wales - 300,513 ha 

What the layer shows

The catchments of river and lake water bodies identified by the water regulatory authorities as failing, or at risk of failing, Good Status due to acidification. Failing water bodies are those where the acidity of out-flowing waters exceeds Water Framework Directive chemical standards for pH or Acid Neutralising Capacity. 

Impact on a GWC application

Forestry is known to have an influence on acidification, principally as a result of forest canopies' ability to capture more acid sulphur and nitrogen pollutants from the atmosphere than shorter types of vegetation. The UKFS Forests and Water Guidelines provide guidance on forest management in acid sensitive areas; including new planting. NRW has also published guidance on how it implements this aspect of the standards in Wales. Plans in these areas will need to demonstrate that they have complied with these standards.

Guidelines

  • Follow the UKFS guidelines and NRWs implementation guide if the proposed area is within this layer. Section 5.1 of the Implementation Guide provides guidance on when a Critical Load Assessment will be required
  • Provide evidence of compliance when submitting your plan for verification

Data notes 

Data is taken from the Water Framework Directive (WFD) Acid Sensitive Waterbodies Cycle 2 (2016). 

Useful information 

Common Land 

UKFS – Forests and People - Forests and People; Legal 3 

Total area in Wales- 174,661 ha 

What the layer shows

All registered Common Land in Wales. 

Impact on a GWC application

Any works that may impede the exercise of common rights need careful consideration and prior agreement from any holders of commoners’ rights. Erection of fencing to protect trees from grazing on common requires consent from Welsh Government Section 38 of the Commons Act 2006. If the common land is owned by the National Trust, consent will need to be obtained under the National Trust Act 1971 Welsh Government will not accept proposals for planting on registered common land unless all the required permissions and approvals are in place prior to the submission of the expression of interest.

Guidelines

  • Seek agreement with all holders of commons rights and the landowner on the area of land in question. If the land owner is unknown, the local authority may have authority and should be contacted.
  • Gain consent from the Welsh Government for restricted works under part 3 section 38 of the Commons Act 2006  If the common land is owned by the National Trust consent will need to be obtained under the National Trust Act 1971
  • Only include registered common land if all necessary permissions were in place at the time of the expression of interest
  • Contact Rural Payments Wales if you are unsure whether this affects your proposal

Data notes 

The layer is derived from commons boundaries recorded on the official registers held by commons registration authorities. It is important to note that due to the complexity of commons, this data layer is not definitive and there may be commons not present within the layer. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the proposed new planting scheme is not on common land. 

Useful information 

Historic Landscape Area (all areas)

UKFS – Forests & Historic Environment - Good Forest Practice 1, 2; Forest Guidelines 10;

Forests & Landscapes Good Forest Practice 2, Forest Guidelines 24 

Total area in Wales - 554,818 ha 

What the layer shows

These 58 areas represent the ‘character areas’ of the registered Historic Landscapes of Outstanding and Special Interest in Wales.

Archaeological Trusts monitor the records for Historic Landscapes on behalf of Cadw. 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.

Woodland creation may be welcomed in these areas but it will depend on the nature of the landscape and the details of the proposed planting.

Guidelines

  • Highlight the presence of any Historic Landscape Area when you contact the relevant Archaeological Trust  - a grid reference or title will help speed up processing
  • 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 Registered Landscapes were compiled jointly by Cadw, the Countryside Council for Wales (now part of Natural Resources Wales) and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). 

Useful information 

National Park (Brecon Beacons) 

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

Total area in Wales- 134,954 ha 

What the layer shows

The area of the Brecon Beacons National Park. 

Impact on a GWC application

Brecon Beacons National Park Authority are the planning authority for the national park. 

National Park authorities have a specific role that includes a duty to ‘conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage’ whilst seeking to ‘foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the national park’. In order to do this the authority required consultation on Glastir Woodland Creation schemes that meet certain criteria.

Guidelines

  • If your proposed new planting is greater than 2 hectares, email enquiries@beacons-npa.gov.uk and ask for a landscape consultation response for your proposed scheme. Use “GWC scheme landscape consultation request” as the title for your email. If the scheme is marked as green on the Woodland Opportunities map, include this information in your email
  • You need to follow any recommendations and include the response when submitting your plan for verification

Data notes 

The layer is derived from the statutory national park boundary. 

Useful information 

National Park (Pembrokeshire Coast) 

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

Total area in Wales- 61,461 ha 

What the layer shows

The area of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. 

Impact on a GWC application

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority are the planning authority for the national park. 

National Park authorities have a specific role that includes a duty to ‘Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage’ whilst seeking to ‘foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the national park’. In order to do this the authority required consultation on schemes that meet certain criteria.

Guidelines 

  • The park authority hold a number of local datasets which may help enhance the quality of your application. Informal consultation is encouraged for all schemes within the park
  • Formal Consultation is required:
    • For any scheme within 1km of the coastline and within the National Park
    • For any scheme in the Enhanced Mixed Woodland category with less than 60% broadleaf planting
    • For any scheme over 2ha
  • The email address for consultations is info@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk marked for the attention of Sarah Mellor 

Data notes 

The layer is derived from the statutory park boundary. 

Useful information 

National Park (Snowdonia) 

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

Total area in Wales- 213,933 ha 

What the layer shows

The area of Snowdonia National Park 

Impact on a GWC application

Snowdonia National Park Authority are the planning authority for the national park. 

National Park authorities have a specific role that includes a duty to ‘Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage’ whilst seeking to ‘foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the national park’. In order to do this the authority required consultation on schemes that meet certain criteria.

Guidelines

  • If your plan is greater than 2ha you must consult the park authority. Email parc@snowdonia.gov.wales usingGWC scheme landscape consultation request” as the title
  • You need to follow any recommendations and include the response when submitting your plan for verification.

Data notes 

The layer is derived from the statutory national park boundary. 

Useful information

Open Access 

UKFS – Forests and People - Legal 3 

Total area in Wales - 353,443 ha 

What the layer shows

Land over which the public have a right of access under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW). This includes areas of land identified as being mountain, moor, heath, and down; registered common land; and land over which the owner has formally dedicated as open access. 

Impact on a GWC application

Woodland creation schemes on access land designated under CROW must ensure that public access is not impeded. Informal paths should be kept unplanted to allow continued access and all access points to the land should be maintained. Gates should be included in fences to allow continued access. 

Proposals on access land will require consultation with the local access authority. The local authority may also wish to consult their Local Access Forum. If the access rights are by virtue of it being considered open country and they consider it important for public access they may ask that it is dedicated as access land before the scheme goes ahead.

Guidelines

  • Provide evidence that all informal paths are kept unplanted
  • Ensure sufficient gates are incorporated into any new fencing to allow continued public access
  • Ask the local authority access team for a consultation response, implement any recommendations they make and include their response when you submit your plan for verification

Data notes 

The boundaries are taken from the statutory maps of open access land. 

Useful information 

Red Squirrels 

UKFS – Forests and Biodiversity - Legal 1; Good Forest Practice 3,4 

Total area in Wales - 48,446 ha 

What the layer shows

The layer identifies areas where the presence of both red and grey squirrels means that new woodland creation needs to be planned to favour the native species. Red squirrel areas where grey squirrels have been eradicated (such as Anglesey) are not included. 

Impact on a GWC application

Whilst woodland creation is generally encouraged in these areas, the choice of woodland mix will be limited to Enhanced Mixed Woodland here. Other mixes are likely to favour grey squirrels and will not be verified. You should also aim to tailor your plan to maximise the benefits to red squirrel populations and avoid further spread of grey squirrels.

Guidelines

  • Limit proposed planting to Enhanced Mixed Woodland in these areas
  • Avoid planting large-seeded broadleaved tree species such as oak, chestnut, beech, ash, sycamore, or hazel where these are not already present
  • Design the planting scheme to avoid linking woodlands with grey squirrel to woodland with red squirrels
  • Provide complementary planting of 20% Pine (Scots or Lodgepole) and Norway Spruce in a matrix of small seeded broadleaves and Sitka Spruce adjacent to existing red squirrel habitat

Data notes

The layer uses data from the Wales Squirrel Forum which is regularly updated. 

Useful information 

Water Vole 

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

Total area in Wales - 114,296 ha 

What the layer shows

The dataset shows records of water voles in Wales. 

Impact on a GWC application

Planting schemes in these areas should be tailored to provide favourable conditions for water voles. Remember that water voles are a protected species and some works may require a licence (see the link below). We will consider whether licences are required and let you know as part of verification.

Guidelines

  • Leave a buffer of at least 5m unplanted from riparian banks
  • Beyond the 5m buffer, include the following trees and shrubs near watercourses – willow specie, aspen, black poplar, common alder, hazel, field maple, rowan, hawthorn, crab apple, bird cherry, elder
  • Design planting to avoid fragmenting riparian corridors that link areas of bog, marsh, ponds, ditches or streams
  • Avoid planting up areas of high ground that have a soft substrate near watercourses as these may be used by water voles as refuges during flood

Data notes 

The layer shows clusters of positive surveys with a 2km buffer. Data was collated by our ecologists and includes regional site records held by the Welsh Wildlife Trusts. 

Useful information 

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