Trees in Conservation Areas

Trees in Conservation Areas

What is a conservation area?

A Conservation Area is an area designated by the Local Planning Authority because of its special character. This is usually done because of the special architectural or historical importance of an area.

How do Conservation Areas affect trees?

Within a Conservation Area all trees have a level of protection similar to trees covered by a Tree Preservation Order.

Autumn colour

What must I do if I want to work on a tree in a Conservation Area?

Before working on a tree in a Conservation Area you must give the council six weeks notice in writing of your intention to carry out work. You should include details of the exact location of the tree, usually indicated on a plan, along with details of the species and exactly what work you wish to do. Your local council may provide a form to help you to do this.

The council will then consider whether or not the tree should be made the subject of a Tree Preservation Order. If you have heard nothing within six weeks, or if you have received a letter letting you know that the work is acceptable, you may go ahead with the work that you notified. If the work is not acceptable the council will make a TPO to protect the tree further.

When can I prune a tree in a Conservation Area without notifying the council?

All the exemptions listed for trees protected by a TPO apply to trees within a conservation area. In addition, there is no need to notify your intention to work on trees that:

  • Have a diameter of less than 75mm (appx 3 inches) measured at 1.5m (appx 5 feet) above ground.
  • Have a diameter of less than 100mm (appx 4 inches) measured at 1.5m above ground and are being pruned or felled to help the growth of other trees.

What are the penalties for working on a tree without notifying the council?

If you deliberately destroy a protected tree, or damage it in a manner likely to destroy it, you could be fined up to £20,000 if convicted in a magistrates court. For other offences you can be fined up to £2,500. Furthermore, you will normally have to plant a new tree if the tree was cut down or destroyed.