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  4. Working on protected trees

Working on protected trees

You will need to give notice of work to a tree if it has a Tree Preservation Order or is in a conservation area.

Tree Preservation Orders (TPO)

A TPO is made by the Local Planning Authority to protect trees or woodlands against damage. A TPO can protect a single tree, groups of trees, areas and woodlands but not hedges or shrubs.

If you're planning to carry out works to a protected tree you need to get permission from us. It's a criminal offence to prune, fell or damage a tree protected by a TPO or in a Conservation Area without giving us notice.

You can do a postcode search to find out if there are any TPOs near your property.

Search for a Tree Preservation Order

For specific information about a TPO call us on 01594 810000.

Trees in Conservation Areas

Trees in Conservation Areas have special provision. You need to give six weeks notice if you are planning to carry out work to a tree in a Conservation Area, this is so that we can consider whether a TPO should be made to protect it.

Find out if you are in a Conservation Area

Apply to carry out tree works

You need to give six weeks notice if you are planning to carry out work to a tree in a Conservation Area, this is so that we can consider whether a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) should be made to protect the tree(s).

Some exemptions to applying for permission for works to protected trees and trees in Conservation Areas apply:

Exemptions

Exemptions from giving notice of work to trees protected by a TPO and trees in Conservation Areas

You don't have to apply for permission/give notice if:

1. The tree has a diameter less than 75mm as measured at 1.5m above ground level (in the case of trees in a Conservation Area only. Some young trees and saplings are protected by TPOs).
2. If you have a felling licence granted by the Forestry Commission or a plan of operations approved by the Commission under one of its grant schemes.
3. Cutting or removing garden hedges.
4. Cutting or removing garden shrubs.
5. Work that's been approved in an approved planning scheme (see any relevant planning conditions or advice notes on the decision notice of the planning permission).
6. If the trees are dead or have become dangerous five days written notice is required (unless it has become so dangerous that it requires immediate action, in which case, notify us as soon as possible). It is strongly advised that you keep a record of the condition of the tree and the requirement to carry out the works, to include photographs if immediate action is taken. If you aren't sure if the condition of the tree means it is exempt please contact us before carrying out work on 01594 812331 or 812329.
7. Removing dead branches from a living tree(s).
8. There are exemptions for statutory undertakers. For more information call 01594 812331.
9. Proposed works are to promote the growth of fruit on fruit trees for commercial use.

You can make a standard or an enhanced application. We use the same application form for both however; additional detail is required with an enhanced application to help us make a quicker decision.

Application forms

For standard applications, return your completed application form and a plan to show the location of the tree(s). We will issue an application reference number and decision date. Consultations are undertaken with various consultees. The application will be decided within eight weeks (or six weeks for Conservation Area applications).

For enhanced applications (for a quicker decision), return your completed application form with a plan to scale and annotated photographs of the tree(s) from at least two view points. We will issue an application reference number and decision date.

Applications will be classified as major or minor. Consultations take place with various consultees for major applications. No consultations are made for minor applications. The target determination time for enhanced major applications is four weeks, and for enhanced minor applications it is five to ten days.

Major works are felling, crown reduction over 15 per cent, crown thinning over 15 per cent, pollarding, coppicing, removal of a single branch over 120mm in diameter at trunk meting point and the removal of multiple branches.

Minor works are crown reduction of 15 per cent and under, crown thinning of 15 per cent and under and the removal of a single branch of or under 120mm in diameter at trunk meeting point.

We may grant applications for works to trees protected by a TPO subject to certain conditions. We may require that replacement planting details are submitted for approval. If this condition is on your application consent you will need to submit a replacement planting form and planting location plan. We will usually state a time by which this must be done.

Enforcement

We may prosecute offenders, and fines of up to £20,000 for each tree may be imposed by the Magistrates Court in the event of offenders being convicted of an offence. If proceedings are instituted in the Crown Court fines are unlimited. There is a duty to replace any tree removed without permission.

Request a new TPO

Anyone can request that we consider protecting a tree by making a new TPO. You can write to us giving details of the tree species, location and details as to why the tree should be protected, a clear plan and photographs of the tree and where possible details of the owner of the tree.

Send to Sustainability Team, Forest of Dean District Council, High Street, Coleford, Gloucestershire, GL16 8HG.

The factors we consider include:

  • Visibility (is or will the tree visible from a public place such as a road, footpath or park?)
  • Size and form (is it of benefit to the present and future generations?)
  • Significance of the tree within its surrounding environment (are there other trees within the area that are more significant?)
  • Contribution to the amenity of the area (do the trees or will they, contribute to the appearance or setting of an area? Do they screen an eyesore? Do they contribute to the setting of present and future developments?)

Support from local residents and or organisations such as your local parish or town council are advantageous.

Once a TPO is made

Once an Order is made the tree is protected provisionally for a period of six months. The owner of the tree or members of the public can object within 28 days of the Order being made. If there are no objections to the Tree Preservation Order the Order will be confirmed within six months. If an objection is received, the Order will be considered by the Planning Committee. They can do one of three things:

  • Confirm the Order with no modifications
  • Confirm the Order with modifications
  • Not confirm the Order (if the Order is not confirmed the tree is no longer protected)

This must be done within six months of making the Order.