The Local Planning Authority (LPA) is the part of the council which determines applications for development and other planning related matters, including the administration of 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 approximately 380 Tree Preservation Orders (TPO). One TPO may protect a single tree or numerous trees depending on the designation used. There are four designations which can identify trees Individually, as Groups, 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.
Under Sections 197 to 201 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 the council acting in its capacity as the Local Planning Authority (LPA) has the power to make Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) where it is expedient to do so in the interests of amenity.
Amenity Assessment and Expediency
Assessing the amenity afforded by a tree is subjective and consequently LPAs are encouraged to exercise judgement when deciding whether or not a tree merits protection. TPOs should only be made where the removal of a tree would have a significant negative impact on the local environment and its enjoyment by the public.
Factors influencing the degree of amenity afforded by a tree will include its visibility and context within the landscape, as well as the tree’s size and form, its age and condition. Other factors affecting the amenity afforded by a tree may include, its rarity, historical or cultural value and importance for nature conservation.
As well assessing amenity LPAs should also consider whether it is expedient to make a TPO. For example, where trees are under good arboricultural or silvicultural management a TPO is unlikely to be necessary. Furthermore, trees which are not considered to be at risk of being felled or otherwise destroyed will not usually merit a TPO unless they are exceptional specimens.
The Urban Tree and Woodland Plan has been adopted by the Flintshire County Council and promotes the sustainable management of trees across all council departments as part of a target to increase urban canopy cover to 18% by 2033. For the above reason it should not normally be necessary for trees growing on land owned or maintained by Flintshire County Council to be made subject to a TPO.
Section 197 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 places a duty on LPAs (rather than a just a power) to make TPOs as it considers may be necessary in connection with granting of planning permission. The duty is unsurprising as trees on land proposed for development will normally be at greater risk of being felled, damaged or destroyed than those elsewhere. For the above reason the assessment and, where appropriate, the protection of trees on sites proposed for development will take priority.
Requests for Tree Preservation Orders
If you who would like to propose that a tree (also groups of trees and woodlands) be made subject to a TPO you can email or write to the Tree Team. You should clearly state the reasons why you consider the tree merits protection by a TPO and provide a plan or detailed description that identifies the tree. A photograph of the tree from a public viewpoint can assist with assessing amenity. Trees that do not afford a significant degree of public amenity are unlikely to merit protection.
When evaluating whether or not a tree merits protection by a TPO the LPA will adhere to the above guidance. The LPA cannot accede to TPO requests that are frivolous or vexatious as this would lead to inconsistent decisions.
You can check if a tree is already protected by a TPO or within designated conservation area on council’s tree web pages here:-
Flintshire has 32 Conservation Areas which mainly cover historic town centres or villages.As well as providing controls that further restrict development in Conservation Areas also afford protection to trees. 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.
Interactive mapping search for TPOs and Conservation Areas
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 tree 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
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. firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. 01352 703264
Guidance for the Completion of Protected tree Works Application to Flintshire County Council
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 tree works reasonable steps must be undertaken to check for protected species (e.g. Birds, bats, badgers).