Trees

Flintshire County Council is responsible for managing thousands of trees which are under the remit of several services. If you have an enquiry about a tree on council land, it will help us if it is made directly to the relevant service by using the contact telephone number or email.  

In addition to being a major owner of trees, the council has powers to protect and deal with dangerous trees on private land. 

 

Contacts

Streetscene 

Trees on highway verges, street trees, trees in parks, play areas and formal open spaces. The A55 and A494 are trunk roads maintained by the NMWTRA and enquiries about trees on their land should be made directly to the agency. 

Email. streetscene@flintshire.gov.uk       Tel. 01352 701234      

Countryside Service

Countryside Service sites (e.g. Wepre Park, Llwyni, Buckley Common, Carmel Wood and Penymaes Wood) except for Greenfield Valley.

Email.  countryside@flintshire.gov.uk       Tel. 01352 703900

Greenfield Valley 

Email. info@greenfieldvalley.com  Tel. 01352714172

Schools

Please refer directly to head teacher or school secretary.  My Local School 

In the event of an out of hours emergency please contact Streetscene.

Housing

Trees in the gardens of council properties or open spaces on council estates.

Email. housingservices@flintshire.gov.uk    Tel. 01352 701500    

Other land

Flintshire County Council does not keep records of land in other ownerships. If you have a query about a tree on land not maintained by the council you will need to make your own enquiries to find out who owns it.

The Land Registry can provide information about who owns registered property and land in Wales. A fee is payable to make a search.

 

Tree Management

Sustainability is at the core of the Welsh Government’s policies and the sustainable management of urban trees and woodlands must be an overarching objective of the council.

As a major landowner, the council receives many requests and complaints regarding trees and it is important that they are dealt with consistently and proportionately. Unless there are exceptional overriding reasons, trees managed by the council’s arboriculturists will not be cut back or felled, at the expense of the council, as a result of the following:-

•             Allegedly too tall

•             Shade (unless oppressive)

•             Loss of a view

•             Dropping aphid honeydew/sap

•             Dropping leaves or other seasonal debris

•             Interfering with TV reception

•             Affecting the efficient working of solar panels

•             Touching overhead telecommunication wires

•             Overhanging branches

This policy is in accordance with the Common Law rights that exist between a tree owner and a person making a complaint.

A neighbour intending to exercise a Common Law right to cut off overhanging branches growing from trees on council land is advised to contact the council beforehandto discuss the proposed work. 

The council is committed to the effective identification, evaluation and management of the risks associated with the failure of trees and uses Tree Risk Assessment methods to ensure that trees are inspected and managed to reflect the level of risk that they pose. 

This approach ensures that the council uses its resources effectively, with large trees adjacent to major trunk roads being inspected on an annual basis, whilst other trees are not subject to tree risk inspections because they would not cause damage or harm even if they suffered major failure.

Protected Trees

The Local Planning Authority (LPA) is the part of the council which determines applications for development and administers the policies and legislation relating to the protection of trees.

The Welsh Government has produced a guide which answers some of the most common questions about tree preservation procedures.

Protected Trees: A Guide to Tree Preservation Procedures 

Tree Preservation Orders

Flintshire Country Council administers approximalty 380 Tree Preservation Orders (TPO), 2018 figure. One TPO may protect a single tree or numerous trees depending on the designations used. These designations can identify trees Individually, as a Group, Areas or Woodlands.

Unless exempt a TPO prohibits the cutting down, uprooting, topping, lopping, wilful damage or destruction of a tree without the LPA’s consent.  It is usually the case that trees within the built environment are under the greatest risk of being felled and therefore the majority of TPOs are made in urban areas.

 

Conservation Areas

Flintshire has 32 Conservation Areas which mainly cover historic town centres or villages.

As well as providing controls that restrict development in Conservation Areas also afford protection to trees and subject to certain exemptions it is a criminal offence to cut down, lop or top, uproot, wilfully damage or destroy a tree without six weeks’ prior notification to the LPA in writing.

The six week notification period gives the LPA the opportunity to make a TPO where it is considered necessary to safeguard the amenity afforded to an area by a tree. Where a TPO is made it has the effect of stopping the work described in the notification from proceeding.  To find out whether a property is within a designated Conservation Area follow the link to the GIS Mapping Page, click the layer icon in the top right of screen to reveal the layers and click the square box to show the Conservation Areas on the map.  

As Tree Preservation Orders and Conservation Areas afford protection to trees in the interests of public amenity the council will, in accordance with best practice, normally publicise trees works that include felling. When determining TPO applications and Conservation Area notifications the LPA will take into account the relevant national guidance and the council’s own planning policies.

There is no fee to make an application for consent to carry out tree works to a tree subject of a TPO or to make a notification to carry out works to a tree inside a Conservation Area.

Apply on line at the Planning Portal Wales or Download form and guidance notes

How do I find out if there is a Tree Preservation Order on a tree?

The council is working towards making a publicly viewable GIS layer of its TPOs on line. In the meantime enquiries about TPOs should be made directly to the Council’s Forestry Officer.

Email. stuart.body@flintshire.gov.uk   Tel. 01352 703264

 

Planning conditions

Planning conditions are conditions attached to a planning consent and control or prescribe aspects of the development to be carried out in accordance with the LPA’s requirements. In accordance with Government guidance the LPA will not normally rely on planning conditions to secure the long term protection of trees that merit protection by TPOs. The LPA will enforce the short term protection of trees through extant planning conditions and therefore a person intending to carry out works to a tree on a development that has been completed in the past five years should contact the Council’s Forestry Officer beforehand.

Email. stuart.body@flintshire.gov.uk   Tel. 01352 703264

 

Other Controls

Under the Forestry Act 1967 (As amended) the volume of growing timber which can be felled in each calendar quarter without a Felling Licence is restricted. The controls are administered by Natural Resources Wales.

Certain land is also designated by Natural Resources Wales because of its natural or cultural importance (e.g. Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Area of Conservation) and proposed forestry operations which could affect these sites may require assessment by this body.

In addition when carrying out of tree works reasonable steps must be undertaken to check for protected species (e.g. Birds, bats, badgers).

 

Dangerous Trees

Highway

Acting in its capacity as the Highways Authority the council can, by formal notice, require the owner of a tree (or vegetation of any description) to lop or cut it back where it endangers or obstructs the highway.  

Reports of allegedly dangerous trees adjacent to the highway should be made to Streetscene and will be assessed using a Tree Risk Assessment method to determine what, if any, remedial action is necessary. In default of a formal notice the council, or contractors acting on the council’s behalf may enter the land and carry out the works specified in the notice.

Streetscene or Email. streetscene@flintshire.gov.uk   Tel. 01352 701234 

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976

The Act gives the council power to deal with trees on land which are a danger to an owner or occupier of adjoining land. 

Reports of allegedaly dangerous trees should be made in writing to the council and where approprate include photographs of the tree and arboricultural report.  The council's arboriculturists will use a tree risk assessment method to determine the degree of danger and whether the council's powers should be used.

Email. stuart.body@flintshire.gov.uk   Tel. 01352 703264

Managing the risks associated with trees

This approach ensures that the council uses its resources effectively, with large trees adjacent to major trunk roads being inspected on an annual basis, whilst other trees are not subject to tree risk inspections because they would not cause damage or harm even if they suffered major failure.

To assist with this risk based approach the council uses a GIS based computerised tree management system. The computerised system allows the scheduling of re-inspections at set intervals based upon tree risk.

The council, acting in its capacity as the Local Planning Authority, also applies Tree Risk Assessment methods to assess proposals to carry out works to protected trees that are claimed to be unsafe.

The National tree Safety Group has produced the booklet Common sense risk management of trees which is available on the Forestry Commission’s website. https://www.forestry.gov.uk/safetreemanagement