- Agricultural hedgerow removal
- Conservation area - management plans
- Conservation areas
- Forest and woodland management
- Historic sites and monuments
- Landscape and nature conservation grant
- Listed buildings
- Townscape Heritage Initiative
- Tree management
- Tree works - applying for consent
- Trees in private ownership - FAQ's
Tree preservation orders
The Council, acting as the Local Planning Authority, has powers to protect trees situated on private land. The responsibility for protected trees remains with the owner, however, in most circumstances due to the restrictions imposed there is a need to obtain consent from the Council before carrying out pruning or felling.
If you are intending to carry out work to trees in your ownership and are unsure whether or not they are protected you should contact the Council’s Forestry Officer.
There are three main ways in which the Council can protect trees in private ownership:
1. Tree Preservation Orders
Under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 the Council, acting as the Local Planning Authority, has powers to protect trees and woodlands that afford significant amenity by making Tree Preservation Orders. There are several hundred existing Tree Preservation Orders in Flintshire which may cover anything from a single tree to several woodlands, groups of trees and individual trees in a wide geographical area. Most frequently Tree Preservation Orders are made to protect trees on land which is likely to be developed and this is particularly important as the Flintshire Unitary Development Plan emerges.
A Tree Preservation Order, among other things prohibits the lopping, topping and felling of trees covered by the Order. There are a number of exemptions (see below) contained within the legislation, however in most circumstances the Council’s consent will be required before carrying out work to a tree protected by a Tree Preservation Order.
The Welsh Assembly Government has produced a guide for tree owners, the general public and amenity groups, which answers some of the most common questions about Tree Preservation Orders.
If you are proposing to carry out work to a tree protected by a Tree Preservation Order you can make an appointment with the Council’s Forestry Officer to discuss the work prior to the submission of an application. The Forestry Officer will be able to advise you about the application process, how long your application is likely to take and assist you with completing your application. Advice can also be given about the tree’s condition and the appropriateness of the proposed work.
2. Conservation Areas
These are designated areas which in addition to restricting development also afford protection to trees within them. There are 32 Conservation Areas in Flintshire which are predominantly situated around the oldest parts of villages and town centres.
If you are proposing to carry out work (e.g. felling, topping or lopping) to a tree inside a Conservation Area it will usually be necessary to submit a notification for works to trees to the Council for consideration. Before submitting a notification the Council’s Forestry Officer will meet with you to discuss your proposal and assess the tree. In addition assistance with completing the notification forms and information about how your proposal will be considered will be given.
Once a valid notification is received by the Council it has six weeks to consider the proposal. The Council will endeavour to respond to your notification within this period however if you do not receive a reply once this period has expired you can proceed with the work specified. The work must be undertaken within two years of the date of your notification to the Council.
3. Planning conditions
Planning Conditions restricting the felling and pruning of trees are often imposed when planning consent for development is granted. The extent of the protection afforded will depend on the wording of the planning condition. Planning conditions can be used to afford general protection of trees and hedgerows in the early years following development to soften its impact. They are not intended for the long term protection of trees in the landscape. If you are proposing to carry out work to a tree subject of a planning condition currently enforced by the Council then you will be asked to submit details.
There are a number of exemptions to the Tree Preservation Order and Conservation Area restrictions. The ones which most frequently apply are:
- Trees which are dead, dying or dangerous: Except in an emergency you are advised to give the Council 5 days notice before you carrying out work under this exemption. This gives the Council the opportunity to assess the tree and ensure you are not carrying out unauthorised work. The Council may also dispense with the requirement to plant a replacement tree. This requirement does not apply to ‘woodland’ Tree Preservation Orders.
- Trees on sites where planning permission has been granted: Trees which are directly in the way of development which is about to start and for which detailed planning consent has been granted.
- Trees which are causing a nuisance in the legal sense: You should seek advice from a solicitor over the interpretation of a legal nuisance.
It is a criminal offence to carry out unauthorised work to a tree subject of a Tree Preservation Order or Conservation Area restrictions. On conviction a person can be fined up to £20,000 in a Magistrates’ Court for destroying a tree or damaging it in such a way that it is destroyed. Fines of up to £2,500 can be made for other offences. In addition where trees are destroyed in contravention of the Tree Preservation Order the Council can require replacement planting.
Tree felling and the Forestry Commission
The Forestry Commission possess general powers under the Forestry Act 1967 which restrict the volume of timber which can be felled. If you are intending to fell several large trees or a significant number of small trees you should obtain advice from a forester or contact the Forestry Commission directly as you may be required to submit a Felling Licence application. If you carry out work in contravention of the Forestry Act you may be prosecuted and have to replant the trees. Further information is available on the Forestry Commission website (new window).
If you require further advice or information please contact the Council's Forestry Officer in the Environment and Conservation section. Telephone 01352 703264 or submit an enquiry online (will open an e-form).