Carrying out any work on some trees should always happen only after you have established their legal status. The reason for this is simple: the legislation of England puts some trees under protection, which means you cannot work on them unless you get all the proper authorisation.
Otherwise, you face the risk of prosecution and enforcement actions, like a criminal record and hefty fines. If you wish to find out more about tree preservation orders, planning conditions, felling licenses,
conservation areas and the restrictive covenants that protect a large part of the trees in the UK, read on:
- Tree Preservation Orders – TPOs, for short, exist for one purpose: to protect the trees that are important to their local area, as they bring big amenity benefit to it. It is the Local Planning Authorities that administer TPOs – national park authorities, boroughs/unitary/district councils, etc. TPOs protect all kinds of trees, but not bushes.
- Orders sometimes affect single trees, whereas in other cases they cover the entire woodland or defined area. TPOs can be issued for any tree species, though there are no species that fall under automatic protection. The order itself makes cutting down, uprooting, topping or purposefully damaging a tree a criminal offence. If you wish to carry out works on a tree that is under a TPO, you have to submit an application form to your local planning authority. It is a good idea to consult with a tree surgeon before you submit such form.
- Conservation areas – normal TPOs usually cover trees that are part of a conservation area. If that is not the case and you need to do work on the tree(s), you have to notify your LPA via email, letter or their form. In it, you have to describe in detail what you want to do, at least six weeks before starting any work. If you plan on executing work on a tree less than 7.5 cm in diameter, you do not need to give notice. The purpose of the notice itself is to provide the LPA with the opportunity to issue a protective order.
- Felling license – the Forestry Commission is the only one to administer felling licenses. If you want to fell a tree in your garden, you don’t need a permit. Yet, for a tree outside the garden, you have to apply to the Forestry Commission for the proper license.
- Restrictive covenant – in essence, this is a promise that one person makes to another, for instance, a buyer and a seller, not to do certain things to the land on which the property is. It is more binding for the land, and not so much for the individual owner. That means even if the owner sells to another person, the covenant continues in effect.
- Making a covenant or other different restrictions in the property title require third party consent for carrying out any tree work in the area. This is the case even if no TPO or a felling license applies.
- The site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) – the Statutory Nature Conservation
- Organisation designates all SSSI. These are beautiful habitats, teeming with wildlife. Each of these sites has a management plan and a list of operations that require the consent of the SNCO before any works are carried out. Reckless activity or intentional harm to SSSI is a liable offence, which could lead to a hefty fine or a summary conviction.
Knowing all this now will definitely help you in regards to carrying out tree work in accordance with the legislation that applies.
If you wish to find out more on the matter, consult with Treework Environmental Practice.
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