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Tree preservation and hedges

Our Customer Service Centre on Southfield Road is now open for essential enquiries by appointment only. Please be aware that it is mandatory for face coverings to be worn on the premises. More information, including how to make an appointment, can be found in this news story.

Works to trees and hedgerows may require planning permission.

If a tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or is situated in a designated conservation area, in most cases you will need to obtain written consent from us before carrying out any works to it. Carrying out of work without consent is an offence and may lead to a fine of up to £20,000.

You can find out whether your tree has a TPO or is within a conservation area by checking the Property Notices section of the Local Information page on My Charnwood, or alternatively you can view via our Interactive Maps system. If so, please contact us on:

Tree Preservation Orders (TPO)

A Tree Preservation Order is a legal order which prevents certain trees from being cut down, uprooted, topped/lopped or purposefully damaged without our permission. We do this to protect trees which may visually enhance the quality of the borough's environment or trees which are a benefit to the community.

Other factors such as the importance of a site as a wildlife habitat may be taken into consideration which alone would not be sufficient to justify a TPO.

If you think that there are trees in need of protection please contact us and give details of the tree(s) and the reasons why you think the tree(s) should be protected. We will then assess the amenity value and can make a TPO where appropriate.

Trees in conservation areas

By law, anyone planning to cut down or carry out work to a tree in a conservation area must give us six weeks written notice of their intention to do so. The notice must describe all plans and include enough information to allow us to identify the tree/s.

Tree owners should first consider discussing their ideas with an arboriculturalist or our Landscape Officer.

Trees covered by planning condition

When planning permission is granted on land containing trees, it is usual for a condition to be imposed to safeguard the trees. The existence of a TPO will not necessarily prevent development but we will consider the risk to protected trees when deciding planning applications.

Once a detailed planning permission has been granted, any felling may be carried out which is directly required to enable the development to go ahead.

Woodlands

Removing trees within a woodland may require a felling license, under the Forestry Act 1967. To find out if you may need a felling license, visit the Forestry Commission's webpage.  

If you own a protected tree you should ensure that it is as safe as possible.  It is best to have it inspected by a trees consultant or tree surgeon (https://www.trees.org.uk/Find-a-professional) every year, especially if they are close to a public highway or your own or another's property. 

Dangerous Trees 

In the case of a dangerous tree or branch, the carrying out of safety works is covered by Regulation 14 of the Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation)(England) Regulations 2012

Remember it is the tree owners responsibility to carry out whatever work is necessary to make a tree safe in an emergency situation. Any work to remove a hazard must be the minimum necessary.  This can be only done without going through an application process if the tree or branch is deemed dangerous.

If this is the case you must inform the Council by giving written Notice via trees@charnwood.gov.uk at the first opportunity if you have carried out any safety works to a protected tree, or if the protected tree has failed, split or been wind-thrown. Such events are not always preventable or foreseeable.

From a legal point of view, the responsibility to remedy a hazard rests solely with the tree owner not the Council. It is really important to send in evidence of the hazard to the Council and to keep a record such as photographs of the damage should you be challenged so that you can prove the works undertaken were necessary in the interests of safety to make the tree safe.  The council maintains a record of all reported and confirmed dangerous trees/branches.

Persons who own and/ or carry out works to protected trees under the guise of safety works without notification to the Council or sending in evidence could be liable to prosecution.

If you would like to report a dangerous tree on or close to the highway which you do not own, you can report the tree to Leicestershire County Council.

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