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Trees on development sites

Trees on development sites may be protected by Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) and/or by conditions attached to a planning permission.

It is important that such trees are properly protected during construction.

What conditions can be attached to a planning permission to protect trees?

For any work being carried out close to a tree, the council usually requires such work to be undertaken in accordance with British Standard BS5837:2012 Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction - Recommendations.

An additional condition may be attached to a planning permission requiring the approval of design of the building's foundations and layout to ensure that the work does not affect the trees or tree roots on the site. We would normally attach conditions that require applicants to protect trees (including roots) during construction and for a period of time after completion of the development or replace trees in the event of damage.

Does a TPO prevent development of a site?

TPO trees do not automatically prevent development of a site. A planning application may be refused if it would result in the loss of a tree or trees that provide significant amenity value to the local environment. Trees are graded using British Standard BS5837:2012, this will inform what trees should be retained. We consider the impact of development proposals on all trees not just protected ones when we assess planning applications.

Is a TPO application required for works to trees on development sites?

Additional council permission is not required for cutting down or carrying out work on trees if the work is required to directly implement a full planning consent. However, developers should be mindful of any conditions attached to the planning permission in respect of existing and replacement trees. Where development is being carried out with permitted development rights, ie. when planning permission is not needed, eg. for a domestic extension or for a structure in a garden, permission would still be required to cut down or carry out work to a protected tree which may be affected by the development.

Where can I find more information?

The council has published supplementary planning guidance that provides more detail:  PDF Document The Protection of Trees on Development Sites (PDF, 1MB)Opens new window

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