You might not realise it, but the trees that surround you, whether that is on public land or on your own property, could be protected.
Trees can be protected in a number of ways and this can depend on a range of factors such as its age, the size, the location and the possibility that development might take place.
A tree located in your garden might be causing a range of problems. It might be big enough to pose a safety risk while it might be blocking light.
However, if you want to carry out work on the tree or remove it, you’ll need to make sure that it isn’t protected. If it is protected then it is an offence to carry out any work if a tree is protected.
So, it can help to understand why trees are protected, the different types of protection and where it leaves you if your tree is protected.
Protected Trees – What Types of Protection are there?
Tree Preservation Orders
A tree preservation order will be managed by Kent County Council. This will be in place to ensure that a tree is protected or even a group of trees that are of a particular value to local communities.
Tree Preservation orders stop trees from being felled and damaged without obtaining the right permission from the council.
You need to be aware of a tree preservation order if the tree is located on your land or is located near to it. You might also want to protect trees on your land from felling demands from neighbours while they can also be used to protect local woodlands.
The order applies to trees but not bushes or hedges. If you want to find out about protected trees and whether you have any on your land, you can obtain all the information you need from the Land Charges Register.
If you do have protected trees on your land then you should acknowledge that you have to take responsibility for taking care of the tree as well as managing any risks that it may pose.
If your tree has a tree preservation order on it and it needs to be felled because of health and safety concerns then the council might insist that another tree is planted in its place.
Conservation Areas are in place to protect places that have a historic or architectural value. If you live in a conservation area, and want to remove a tree then you will need to obtain permission.
How Do I Find Out if a Tree is Protected?
Fortunately, there are many different services available that can help you find out if your tree is protected. Before you take any action on your tree such as pruning it or even felling it, you will have to obtain permission.
You can carry out a search online as you might be able to check out your local council website to find out if a tree has a Tree Preservation Order on it or if it is located in a Conservation Areas. If there is no map available then you could speak directly with the local authority tree officer or equivalent.
There are other options available such as government maps. This might not provide direct insight into individual trees but you might be able to find out whether protection is in place for whole areas.
You can also check out inventories for ancient woods and ancient trees. There is a certain level of protection in place for ancient woods and ancient and veteran trees through planning policy.
The Ancient woodland Inventory is a map of all the areas of ancient woodland and these are designated by the statutory nature conservation bodies. In England, this is maintained by Natural England and will provide an up-to-date map of all protected trees.
Applying For Tree Works
If you find that your tree is protected, then that doesn’t mean that you cannot make an application for remedial works to be carried out. However, it is important that you begin the process by finding out whether your tree or trees are protected.
Fortunately, there are several options available for you to apply for work to be carried out.
If you are in a conservation area then you should provide written notice of intended works 6 weeks before the works are due to begin. This can be done online, making the process streamlined and quicker.
You can also apply in writing or you might prefer to call the planning department and ask for an application form in the post.
Whether it’s a conservation area or a tree preservation order, if you are given consent to carry out work then you will be given a number of guidelines that you must follow.
If you are given permission to remove a tree completely, then the council might make a recommendation relating to the type of species and number of trees that you might have to plant in order to mitigate the removal.
There are some exceptions to the rules and this could relate to trees that are dead, are dying and are dangerous. If this is the case, then the tree will usually not be required to go through the process but the local officer will need to be informed before any action is taken. If you carry out work without consent then you might find yourself facing a fine of up to £20,000.
Before you undertake any work on a tree that is located on or near your property, you should ensure that it is not protected. It is an easy process and it will give you complete peace of mind while your local council will provide advice on how to deal with the issue you are facing.
Trees are protected for a reason and that makes it even more important to ensure that we look after them the right way.
Tree Care Services in Kent
At N J Apps, we have experience caring for a whole range of trees and properties across Kent. If you would like to book a free quotation, please visit our tree surgery Kent page. Alternatively, complete the form below.
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