The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 inviting people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a tree for the Jubilee”.
Planting trees would normally fall under Schedule 1, List B (B7.1): matters which may be undertaken without a faculty. Given the clear environmental benefit and the celebration of the Platinum Jubilee, the diocese wishes to encourage parishes to participate in the Queen’s Green Canopy project. In order to reduce the administrative burden on parishes and the diocese, the Diocesan Chancellor has responded with a practice direction. A practice direction sets out a way in which parishes can carry out a particular change to their church or churchyard using a simplified and straightforward process.
When deciding to plant any tree or trees, regard must be had to the important guidance issued by the Church Buildings Council:
When selecting your tree, you must consider other factors, such as proximity to the church, other buildings and structures, key views of the church, churchyard, and other local features, shading from the church or nearby buildings, impact on wildflower grassland, the stability of structures such as headstones, box tombs, and churchyard walls, soil conditions, and access for tree management. Trees should not be planted where there is any risk of roots interfering with drains, unmarked burials or other archaeological features. Particular care must be taken if it is proposed to plant a tree between graves, in terms of choosing an appropriate tree species and taking into account the distance of between tree and graves
The overall size, height, span, and root depth/spread of the proposed trees once mature should be a key consideration. Make sure space is available to accommodate the tree when grown to full size, or anticipate the management which may be needed, such as pollarding some lime trees. Consider who will maintain the tree/s and carry out formative watering/pruning so that they become well-established and thrive.
It is important that the overall effect and character required for the churchyard is considered. The local character of the churchyard and its setting/surrounding landscape should help inform the choice of suitable tree species and the approach to planting. It may well be appropriate to take professional advice about what will work best in a particular setting.
The DAC is likely to support a well-designed plan where it can be shown that proposed tree or trees will enhance the churchyard, and where there is suitable space available.
Tree planting should ideally take place between October and March.
The DAC favours native trees, such as alder, beech, birch, bird or wild cherry, elder, holly, oak, rowan, willow and indigenous Christmas trees, such as Scots pine, which are in-keeping with the natural surroundings, habitat, and ecosystems. The woodland trust have produced a helpful guide to native trees and their suitability for planting.
Non-native trees such as ornamental crab, ornamental cherry, ginkgo, evergreens (such as cedar) and others may be appropriate, if you wish to enhance the churchyard and create a specific effect with ornamental flower, leaf colour and/or evergreen foliage.
The DAC is unlikely to support species which might look out of character or be problematic in future such as cupressus, eucalyptus or laurel. Species which bear poisonous fruit/berries and flowers such as laburnum should be used with care, and planted away from boundaries. Yew is a traditional churchyard tree and may be considered as an exception.
The practice direction lays out the circumstances in which it will no longer be required to seek List B consent for tree planting as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project, provided a short process is followed, including consultation with the office of the DAC. The DAC office will need details of the proposed species, photographs and a plan of the churchyard or grounds illustrating the proposed location for planting.
The plan should be marked-up with dots and approximate canopy circles for existing nearby trees and large shrubs, and include any walls, tombs, paths, buildings or other structures. This plan could be based on a tree survey you have for the churchyard. A schedule or key can be used to indicate all species. Proposed new trees and shrubs should be marked with a simple cross +.
To apply for permission to plant a tree or trees, please fill in the Annex to the Practice Direction form and send the required details to: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
In the Consistory Court in the Diocese of Chester
Practice Direction: Planting of trees for the Queen’s Green Canopy Project
List B currently permits the planting of trees in churchyards. Until further notice the planting of trees for the Queen’s Green Canopy will not require an application for a faculty if the following conditions are met:
- The DAC is informed in writing (which includes by email) of the proposed planting and when it is intended to be carried out. The DAC must be provided with details of the species to be planted, a photo or photos, and a location plan clearly marked with the proposed planting position and details of any existing natural or other structures in the vicinity
- Before the planting takes place, the incumbent/churchwarden shall send to the Registry, copied to the DAC, a written (which includes by email) confirmation that the requirements set out above have or will be adhered to (see Proforma Annexed to this Practice Direction).
In the event of disagreement, or any matter of concern which may arise on the part of the DAC or the Registry, the proposals may be referred to the Chancellor for further consideration or direction
This Direction is effective from 15 February 2022.
His Honour Judge David Turner QC, Chancellor of the Diocese of Chester