Trees and hedges
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Trees and hedges



General
Protected trees
Tree work contractors
Trees and development
The Hedgerow Regulations 1997
High hedges

General



The council’s Planning and Development Service deal with many issues relating to trees and hedges on land in private ownership but;
  • for issues relating to trees and hedges within public ownership (parks and public open spaces) you should contact our parks and amenities team
  • for trees on or adjacent to the highway you should contact the highways authority, Devon County Council external website

Protected trees



There are essentially two ways in which the council may have some control over works to trees on private property. The council may become involved either when trees are subject to a Tree Preservation Order or when trees are situated within a conservation area.

It is important to gain consent from the council before working on or close to protected trees as anyone who, in contravention of a Tree Preservation Order or conservation area designation, cuts down, uproots, wilfully destroys, tops, lops, or wilfully damages a tree is guilty of an offence, and, that anyone found guilty of this offence is liable, if convicted in the Magistrates’ Court, to a fine of up to £20,000. In serious cases a person may be committed to trial in the Crown Court and, if convicted, is liable to an unlimited fine.

For general information on protected trees see Department for Communities and Local Government - protected treesexternal website.

Should you wish to apply for consent to carry out works to trees subject of a Tree Preservation Order or give notice of intent to carry out works to trees within a conservation area please use the application for tree works (pdf 388 kB) PDF logo and the associated Planning Portal Guidance Tree Works (pdf 103 kB) PDF logo

Tree work contractors



If you are intending to undertake tree works we advise that it would be prudent to engage a competent arboricultural contractor to undertake the work. Please see the leaflet 'Tree Work - Choosing Your Arborist' (pdf 1.8 MB) PDF logo for further advice.

Whilst the Council does not recommend, or assess or endorse any individuals or companies, we strongly advise that you should ensure that any tree contractor you employ is appropriately qualified, aware of current good practice with regard to tree work and health and safety, and is fully insured. You should always verify credentials and qualifications and be particularly cautious of casual callers offering to carry out tree work.

If you require further guidance,  the Arboricultural Association (telephone 01242 522152 or Aboricultural Association website external website) is one of the recognised bodies in arboriculture which contains a directory of tree contractors and consultants and may be able to assist you with your choice of tree contractors.


Trees and development



The council has a legal obligation to ensure that due consideration is given to existing trees when determining planning applications, and to this end require that whenever trees or hedges are on or adjacent to a proposed development site details must be submitted in accordance with BS 5837:2012 Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction - Recommendations.

Applicants are advised to ensure that they

  • have taken appropriate arboricultural advice in order to inform site layout and design by carrying out a tree survey and producing a tree constraints plan
  • can demonstrate how this advice has been balanced with other development needs by including an arboricultural implications assessment within the design statement, and
  • show how trees to be retained within new developments will be protected during the course of construction, by way of arboricultural method statements and tree protection plans

The Hedgerow Regulations 1997



Hedgerows are protected by the Hedgerows Regulations 1997 external website. Under the regulations, it is against the law to remove or destroy certain hedgerows without permission from the council.

A summary of the regulations is contained in the Defra leaflet "The Hedgerows Regulations: Your Questions Answered". More detailed guidance is contained in The Hedgerows Regulations 1997: A Guide to the Law and Good Practice. Both are available in electronic format, free of charge by emailing: farmland.conservation@defra.gsi.gov.uk

Should you wish to give the council notice of intent to remove a hedgerow use the hedgerow removal notice (pdf 386 kB)PDF logo


High hedges



The right hedge can be an ideal garden boundary but the wrong hedge may bring problems.

Under Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 the council can, as a last resort, become involved in determining complaints about high hedges.

More detailed guidance on high hedges is available from the Department for Communities and Local Government - High Hedgesexternal website.

If, having reviewed all of this guidance and having taken all reasonable steps to resolve the dispute yourself, you want to make a formal complaint, please use the following form:

Joint Landscape Character Assessment for North Devon & Torridge Districts (2010)

This Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) for North Devon and Torridge Districts has been prepared by Land Use Consultants for the two local authorities, in partnership with Devon County Council and with funding from Natural England. It forms part of a wider programme of LCA work being undertaken on a Devon-wide scale, designed to help guide strategic planning and development management decisions and provide guidelines for the conservation and enhancement of Devon’s special landscape qualities.

Joint Landscape Character Assessment 2010 (low-res version) (pdf 15.5 MB) PDF logo


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