Maploom, and our partners at the GeoData, University of Southampton, have recently been awarded a project by the Forestry Commission to explore the impacts of developments on woodlands, ancient woodlands and veteran trees. This two year Project called WIDGET (Woodland Impacts of Development: Guidance, Evidence and Tools) will investigate Forestry Commission’s current role within the planning system identifying opportunities for better evidence, guidance and tools to help improve the consideration of trees and woodlands (including ancient woodland and ancient and veteran trees).

Funded by the UK Government’s Project Speed, which aims to speed up work on major infrastructure developments and stimulate economic growth following the Covid-19 pandemic, Project WIDGET will seek to improve FC’s engagement in the planning process, such as finding efficiency savings and exploring the potential for new or improved guidance, evidence and tools.

Maploom are leading the project and will undertake an analysis of mapping and other data on past woodland loss and gain due to developments. In addition, we will gather user requirements and systems specifications for a new platform (and a prototype) which will support FCs work exploring development impacts on woodlands and which will help identify risks and opportunities for new woodland planting within compensation and mitigation packages.

Rachel Murdock (WIDGET Project Manager and Commercial Director at Maploom) said, “we are delighted to be working for FC on this important project and from early engagement with stakeholders, there is enormous potential for data, mapping and interactive tools to have a really positive impact on their work, making it much easier to review developments, generate statistics, produce reports and to support decision making”.