Dealing with Trees and Hedgerows - Practice Note 5


The protection of trees and hedgerows is a key element of the planning process in maintaining an attractive environment in which to live and work. The development management process plays a vital role in the protection of existing trees and hedgerows through the making of Tree Preservation Orders, administration of the Hedgerow Regulations and through conditions attached to planning approvals. It also plays an important part in the provision of new planting through the landscaping of new developments.

This guidance note covers 4 procedures:

  • making Tree Preservation Orders
  • applications to carry out works to trees covered by a Tree Preservation Order
  • works to trees in Conservation Areas
  • works to hedgerows covered by the Hedgerow Regulations

Legal Position

Section 197 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) places a duty on local planning authorities “to ensure, whenever it is appropriate, that in granting planning permission for any development adequate provision is made, by the imposition of conditions, for the preservation or planting of trees”. Section 198 of the Act further empowers local authorities to make provision for the preservation of trees or woodlands in their area “if it appears … that it is expedient in the interests of amenity”.

The Town and Country Planning (Trees) Regulations 1999 further advises on the making of Tree Preservation Orders and trees in Conservation Areas. Further good practice is to be found in the DETR publication “Tree Preservation Orders – A Guide to the Law and Good Practice” (March 2000), and British Standards 3998: 1989 – ‘Tree Work’ and 5837: 1991 ‘Trees in relation to construction’.

Sections 199 – 210 of the Act provide further statutory requirements in respect of Tree Preservation Orders. Sections 211 – 214 of the Act deal with Trees in Conservation Areas; Section 211 requires prior notice to be given to the Local Planning Authority of works to cut down or carry out work to a tree in a Conservation area.

The Hedgerow Regulations came into force in 1997 giving protection for the first time through the planning system to prevent the widespread removal and destruction of hedgerows principally due to the mechanisation of the agricultural industry since 1950’s.