Tree protection and high hedges

Tree protection

Trees in a Conservation Area (TCA)

Trees usually make an important contribution to the character of a Conservation Area and most are afforded special protection. They are protected if their trunk diameter is 75mm (approximately 3 inches) or more when measured at 1.5m above ground level.

See Tree Preservation Orders and trees in conservation areas (GOV.UK)

Tree Preservation Orders (TPO)

A TPO is an order made to protect certain trees which are important to a local area because of their intrinsic beauty, the special contribution they make to the landscape or street scene, or because of some other special quality, such as rarity or historic significance.

A TPO may cover any type of tree including single, group, woodland or hedgerow trees but not hedges, bushes or shrubs. The order will specify the location and species covered and the properties affected.

TPOs cannot be used to protect every tree in a neighbourhood nor stop approved building development or infrastructure improvements.

See A Guide to Tree Preservation Procedures (GOV.UK)

Additional Tree Guidance for the former East Northamptonshire area

1.0 Overall Management Principles

  1. The Council aims to increase the tree population/canopy cover across the East Northamptonshire area. The tree stock will be expanded with new tree planting where appropriate and practicable.
  2. The Council will help Town and Parish Councils to provide and maintain a high-quality and sustainable tree stock. Native species will be planted to maximize indigenous flora and fauna, particularly, but not exclusively, in rural areas. A diversity of tree species at varying levels of maturity will be established to help mitigate against the effects of pests and diseases that can threaten entire species.
  3. The Council will also provide and promote the highest standards of tree care to the British standard BS 3998: 2010 ‘Tree Work – Recommendations’ as well as adopting relevant arboricultural legislation and research development.
  4. The Council will resist the unnecessary removal of trees unless there are justifiable arboricultural, planning or legal reasons. (If you own or you buy a property, then the nearby and valued trees and your responsibilities towards those trees are all part of that same property).

2.0 Council Owned Trees

  1. Take all reasonable steps to fulfil duties and obligations to ensure tree safety for public and private property.
  2. Carry out replacement planting when a tree is removed. The replacement planting location and species of tree will be assessed.
  3. The Council will not normally undertake any tree pruning works or removal of trees in direct response to any natural or seasonal phenomena, for example:
    a. falling leaves;
    b. sap exudation,(honeydew);
    c. falling fruits, nuts or seeds;
    d. bird droppings;
    e. blossom or pollen;
    f. reduction or increased moisture in gardens;
    g. germinating seeds from council-owned trees;
    h. blocked or obstructed drains, gutters, flat roofs from tree deposits and leaves; or
    i. presence of algae, moss build up.
  4. The Council will not normally undertake any tree pruning work due to:
    a. Loss or interference with TV or satellite signal reception;
    b. Loss of sunlight or man-made lighting during any part of the day;
    c. Damage or “heave” to adjacent surfacing due to a nearby tree;
    d. Blocking or obstruction of a view from a residence.
  5. The Council will not normally prune trees to avoid shading solar panels.
  6. The Council will not remove or prune a tree even if someone is willing to pay.
  7. Where birds are found to be nesting in trees, tree works will normally be delayed until the end of the nesting season (February to August), or the birds have fledged (whichever is sooner).
  8. Any trees identified and confirmed to be supporting roosting bats will not be worked on until Natural England is consulted. The Council will then act upon the advice received.
  9. When investigating claims of subsidence/heave and damage to properties from underground tree roots, evidence will be required from claimants by way of a report from an appropriately qualified person. The report should discuss the following:
    a. A description of the property, including a description of the damage and the crack pattern, the date that the damage first occurred/was noted, details of any previous underpinning or building work, and the geological strata for the site identified from the geological map.
    b. Details of vegetation in the vicinity and its management since the discovery of the damage. Include a plan showing the vegetation and affected building or surfacing material.
    c. Measurement of the extent and distribution of vertical movement using level monitoring over a period of no less than 12 months. This ensures an accurate representation of the typical annual soil movement of the site and demonstrating the seasonal changes of which trees may have an impact.
    d. A profile of a trial/borehole dug to identify foundation type and depth of soil characteristics.
    e. The sub-soil characteristics including soil type (particularly that on which the foundations rest), liquid limit, plastic limit and plasticity index.
    f. The location and identification of roots found. Where identification is inconclusive, DNA testing should be carried out.
    g. Proposals and estimated costs of options to repair the damage.
    h. A report from an arboriculturist to support the tree work proposals, including arboricultural options for avoidance or remediation of indirect tree-related damage.
  10. The Council will not permit notices to be affixed to Council-owned trees by any means.

3.0 Privately Owned Trees

3.1 New Development

  1. The Council will strive for the provision of tree planting on development and privately owned sites meeting national and local policies and including National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy 2011-2031 (JCS), supported by any relevant Supplementary Planning Documents. Foundation details should follow the recommendations of the National House Building Councils' practice note 4.2 : 2018 Building near trees (revised 2017) and distance from buildings complies with BS 5837:2012 ‘Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction. Recommendations’.
  2. The Council will expect to see tree reports in accordance with BS 5837:2012 ‘Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction. Recommendations’ with submitted planning applications where nearby trees might be affected.
  3. The Council will expect to see works on construction sites that might affect trees, to be carried out in accordance with BS 5837:2012 ‘Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction. Recommendations’ and that foundation details follow the recommendations of the National House Building Councils' practice note 4.2 : 2014 Building near trees.
  4. The Council will impose robust, tree-specific planning conditions to ensure that trees are cared for during construction work. This will include arboricultural site supervision when it is appropriate and proportionate. We will enforce any breach of such safeguarding conditions.
  5. Planting schemes within new developments will be expected to utilise engineering solutions to ensure that the trees planted will have sufficient space and resources to survive and thrive.

3.2 Existing Trees

  1. The Council will make Tree Preservation Orders when expedient to do so in the interests of amenity.
  2. When considering applications to carry out works to trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order or in Conservation Areas where the Council will expect to see all required information and process the application within 8 weeks for TPO applications and 6 Weeks for Conservation Area Notifications. Applications to carry out work will not normally be permitted when the considerations highlighted in policies 6, 7 and 8 apply.
  3. When considering applications to carry out work where subsidence/heave is alleged, the level of detail set out in policy 13 is required.
  4. The Council will enforce and, where appropriate, will prosecute tree-related contraventions.

3.3 Woodland Management

  1. The Council will take reasonable steps to preserve and enhance woodland trees; particularly those that are indigenous to the East Northamptonshire area, and will work towards the maintenance and development of Rockingham Forest. JCS Policy 21 gives a target of 40ha per annum for new tree planting within the Rockingham Forest area of North Northamptonshire.
  2. Where possible the Council will encourage natural regeneration in our woodlands.
  3. Where possible, subject to public safety assessments, the Council will retain dead trees in woodlands preferring to prune rather than fell. In situ, dead timber and felled trees are left to benefit habitat creation, or where appropriate with funds permitting, public art.
  4. The Council will manage woodlands as a long-term sustainable resource. This includes the woodland management technique of woodland thinning of young to enable the best trees to flourish.
  5. The Council will actively support and encourage community involvement in the planning and operation of woodland management.
  6. The Council will produce and implement woodland management plans for all Council-owned woods where relevant and required which will take into account the wider landscape, and historic and ecological issues.
  7. The Council will apply for the appropriate licenses for felling, from the Forestry Commission for works in woodlands under the control of the Council.

Last updated 31 July 2023