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Trees within conservation areas

In recognition of the special contribution of trees, conservation area legislation introduced in 1967 includes the blanket protection of all trees within a conservation area having a stem diameter greater than 75mm when measured at 1.5 metres above ground level.

Do I need to make a formal application to carry out work to trees in a conservation area?

Anyone proposing to fell, prune, lop or top a tree within a conservation area needs to give us six weeks’ notice of such intent in writing preferably on the appropriate application form, but this can also be by letter.

The notification must include details of ownership, location of the tree(s) on a sketch plan and describe the works you intend to carry out.

The council, during the six-week period, will consider whether the work is necessary and can proceed, or whether the works would be harmful to the tree or the loss of the tree would be detrimental to the area. If the council decides to oppose the works or the removal of the tree, then a tree preservation order will be made before the expiry of the notice period.

There is currently no cost in making an application for works to trees in a conservation area.

What happens if I carry out work on a tree within a conservation area without giving prior notice?

Any unauthorised works to a tree within a conservation area is a criminal offence.

If you cut down, uproot or wilfully destroy a tree, or wilfully damage (including cutting roots), top or lop a tree in a manner likely to destroy it, you could be fined up to £20,000 for each offence. In determining the amount of the fine, the court will take account of the actual, or likely, financial benefit arising from the offence. For other offences you could be fined up to £2,500. You will normally have to plant a replacement tree if the tree was removed or destroyed.

If I need to discuss any issues who do I contact?

For further advice, contact us.