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Protected trees


Trees and woodlands enhance the environment and make a valuable contribution to the character of an area. They do this in a number of ways:

  • by screening unsightly structures and activities
  • by providing shelter and shade
  • by helping to define and structure spaces
  • by framing and consolidating views

In all these ways trees soften the harshness of the built environment. Trees also form an important habitat for a wide range of wildlife and are instrumental in encouraging animals and birds into an area.

Trees also play a significant role environmentally by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere, helping to clean and filter the air of dust and pollutants. These types of environmental issues have gained a considerable amount of public support and interest in recent years and they are now high on the national agenda.

Some trees within North East Lincolnshire maybe protected either by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or through Conservation Area status.

Dieback disease

Dieback of ash is a serious disease of ash trees caused by a fungus called Chalara fraxinea (C. fraxinea). The disease causes leaf loss and crown dieback in affected trees, and usually leads to tree death

Ash dieback

Chalara Fraxinea is being treated as a quarantine pest under national emergency measures, and it is important that suspected cases of the disease are reported.

Diseased trees

Government scientists have set out the most up-to-date understanding of the disease. Their assessment agreed with the earlier Pest Risk Analysis concluded that:

  • the spores are unlikely to survive for more than a few days;
  • spore dispersal on the wind is possible from mainland Europe;
  • trees need a high dose of spores to become infected;
  • the spores are produced from infected dead leaves during the months of June to September;
  • there is a low probability of dispersal on clothing or animals and birds;
  • the disease will attack any species of ash;
  • the disease becomes obvious in trees within months rather than years;
  • wood products would not spread the disease if treated properly;
  • once infected, trees can’t be cured; and
  • not all trees die of the infection, and some are likely to have genetic resistance

Reporting suspected cases

If you think you have spotted the disease, please check the symptoms video and pictorial guide before reporting it.

Video – watch this video on how to identify chalara ash dieback in the field

To help identify ash trees with dieback disease you can download a free app to your smartphone. This will help efforts to identify and map Chalara disease.

Help identify ash trees with dieback disease app

It is important that the Forestry Commission are informed of any suspected cases of the disease.

Action on Chalara dieback of ash trees

Tree consultants and tree contractors

Landowners are responsible for having their trees checked regularly, and for making sure that any necessary works are carried out, to ensure that they do not cause injury to people or damage to property.

Tree work is hard, skilled work and potentially very dangerous. It should only be done by people who have been trained to do it.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98) requires anyone working with chainsaws on or in trees to be competent to do so. They should have received appropriate training and obtained a relevant certificate of competence or national competence award.

National Proficiency Tests Council

Below is not an approved list or guarantee of quality or service. It is your responsibility to check qualification and current insurance before you appoint somebody.

Tree Work – choosing an Arborist

Tree Preservation Orders (TPO)

The Council is committed to preserving the landscape character of North East Lincolnshire.

In order to conserve the benefits that trees provide, the Local Planning Authority has the power to make Tree Preservation Orders. The Authority has a statutory obligation to publically display new TPO’s for a period of four weeks.

The Local Planning Authority can make a Tree Preservation Order in respect of either an individual tree, a groups of trees or whole woodlands in the interest of preserving public amenity.

A Tree Preservation Order prohibits the:

  • cutting down
  • uprooting
  • topping
  • lopping
  • wilful damage or
  • wilful destruction

of trees without the Local Planning Authorities consent this also includes the roots of trees.

Anyone in contravention of a Tree Preservation Order and found guilty of an offence is liable, if convicted in a magistrates court, to a fine of up to £20,000. In serious cases for trial in the Crown Court, if convicted the fine maybe unlimited.

Application to carry out work to protected trees

You will need consent from the Council to carry out works to trees covered by a Tree Preservation Order.

To make an application for consent to carry out works to protected trees please read the help notes and then print and fill out the tree works application form.

You can keep track of submitted tree work application’s by searching for a planning application.

Acceptable tree work descriptions

The applicant must clearly specify the work in section 7 of the application form, and should avoid references to percentages when describing crown reductions. Also that descriptions of proposed work should instead refer to the intended height and spread of the tree after pruning.

Pruning is to achieve clearance from a structure or from the ground, a finished clearance measurement will suffice.

Any application forms received by the Council that quote percentages without reference to finished dimensions will likely be delayed as clarification is sought, and will ultimately be returned as invalid if more precise information isn’t forthcoming.

Register of Applications

Local planning Authorities are required to maintain a register of applications received, including the LPA’s decision, and to make this register available to the public.

To view applications to carry out works to protected trees please see the “Register of Applications”.

Tree help notes (PDF)

Help notes

Tree preservation procedures: Guidance 

Trees and development

Existing trees of good quality and value can greatly enhance new development, such as providing an immediate appearance of maturity.

Retention of trees with amenity value is a desirable goal in urban development, as it has potential to increase returns for developers, improve the aesthetic environment of people living and working nearby and to reduce the impact of development on the local community, the wider public.

Pre-application site discussions

Communities and Local Government guidance for the validation of planning applications identifies the need for pre-application discussions. North East Lincolnshire Local Planning Authority encourages facilitating the availability of pre-application advice. Pre-application discussions are widely recognised as enhancing the speed and quality of the planning system.

For pre-application advice please contact the trees and woodland officers on 01472 324273 or 01472 324271.

It is through these pre-application discussions that advice can be given to any tree issues relating to a proposed site. The tree officer can identify the information and details that should be submitted with an application for any particular site, and if necessary issue a BS5837: Trees in Relation to Construction Exemption Certificate. Using this approach can help to minimise delays later in processing the application and identify whether any additional information will be required.

The benefits and values of trees in urban areas mostly relate to that which is visible above the soil surface. Arguably, however, it is the capacity of the root system to function in built environment and enable the trees to grow in these distinctly inhospitable situations that is the overriding and crucial factor. It is the root system that experiences the most abuse from construction activities. Unfortunately too little attention is paid to the understanding of the basic characteristics of healthy and vigorous root systems.

Most tree roots occur within the top 600mm of soil, extending radially for distances frequently in excess of tree height. Trees need roots for anchorage, water uptake and energy. Damaging tree roots may kill or weaken the tree and, in some instances, may cause the tree to fall. Tree roots require oxygen to survive. Compaction caused by vehicles can asphyxiate tree roots.

Irreparable damage can occur in the first few days of a contractor’s occupation of a site. The early erection of protective fencing and ground protection to form the construction exclusion zone, before works commence, is essential to prevent damage.

To ensure a harmonious relationship between trees and structures, careful planning and expert advice is needed on their juxtaposition. A good design cannot be achieved without first recognising the constraints of a site. A full tree survey where necessary, allows a real understanding of the site and the limitations that may exist. This will ensure that existing trees are allowed enough space to flourish without causing damage to buildings and nuisance to new occupants. An acceptable design will successfully incorporate any trees without damage or future conflict. The survey information will also help to identify potential areas for new planting and landscaping as well as those trees that can be removed without significant loss for local amenity to aid the development process.

Trees in Conservation Areas

One of the benefits of living in a Conservation Area is the greater consideration given to maintaining and enhancing the existing character of the area.

Trees within a Conservation Area make an important contribution to the character of the environment, the character and appearance of which is desirable to preserve and enhance. The Town and Country Planning Act makes special provision for trees in Conservation Areas that are not subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). Anyone proposing to carry out work on a tree within a Conservation Area is required to give the Local Planning Authority six weeks prior notice. Anyone who cuts down, uproots, tops, lops, wilfully destroys or wilfully damages a tree in a Conservation Area without giving notice will be guilty of an offence. The same penalties apply as those for contravening a Tree Preservation Order.

North East Lincolnshire Conservation Areas

View maps of each Conservation Area:

Notification of works to protected trees

In order to carry out works to trees within a Conservation Area you will need to notify the Local Planning Authority.

Giving notice does not have to be in any particular form, however it must be in writing describing proposed works and identifying location of trees. It maybe helpful to use the standard “notification form” provided by the Local Planning Authority available in the related documents section of this page.

To give notification please read the Conservation Area guidance notes (PDF) and then completed the Tree works application form (PDF).

To enquire as to whether a tree is within a Conservation Area or for information on how to apply to carry out works to trees within Conservation Areas please contact the Local Authority Tree Officers.

Register of notifications

Local Planning Authorities are required to keep available for public inspection a register of all notifications of works to trees within a Conservation Area.

To view notifications to carry out works to trees in a Conservation Area please see the “Register of notifications” which is included in our planning application section. You can search via the DM reference number (if known) or by the address for the site of the tree. You’ll be given information of all planning applications related to the addressed site and will include any tree work applications.

Trees in our town

North East Lincolnshire Council recognises the benefits of trees within our urban environment.

As well as playing a role in climate proofing our towns and neighbourhoods and supporting human health and environmental well-being, trees can also help to create conditions for economic success. Information and guidance is now available that takes a 21st century approach to urban trees.

Trees and Design Access Group (TDAG)

The Trees and Design Action Group (TDAG) is an open collaborative facilitating cross-sector and cross-disciplinary dialogue and projects promoting the role of the urban forest throughout the United Kingdom.
ENGIE and North East Lincolnshire Council are supporting members of this group.

What does TDAG do?

  • Provide a forum for cross-sector working. TDAG meets regularly in several locations including London, Birmingham, Exeter and Manchester. Although members cannot attend every meeting they are all kept fully informed through meeting notes. The focus of each meeting is driven by the membership
  • Produce best practice guides. TDAG uses its membership’s broad knowledge base to develop guides with evidence-based information, practical advice and case studies to inform decision-making on urban trees
  • Respond to consultations. TDAG responds to policy consultation on policy documents as well as best practice standards and guidance that can have an impact on the urban forest. All members are invited to contribute, allowing a holistic and balanced response
  • Facilitate knowledge and research dissemination. TDAG helps identify and promote available reports and research that can inform better decision making on urban trees. It also seeks to identify knowledge gaps and how they can be addressed.

We all appreciate trees within the urban environment for one reason or another; however there is sometimes a lack of understanding of just how trees really do benefit the places where we all live, be this through environmental, social or economic benefits.


Related content

Pest alert

Biosecurity

Chalara control plan – DEFRA

Tree works application form (PDF)

Tree work – choosing an Arborist (PDF)

Contact details

Development Managements Services (trees), New Oxford House, 2 George Street, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, DN31 1HB

Email: planning@nelincs.gov.uk

Telephone: 01472 324213