Planning - trees
Trees can be protected in a number of ways
- by a Tree Preservation Order
- being located in a conservation area
- being within a woodland or ancient woodland
Where one of the above applies, you will not be able to remove the tree without the proper consent. Each of these is discussed in more detail below.
Tree Preservation Orders
A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is a legal mechanism which protects trees from deliberate damage or destruction. TPOs are put in place to preserve trees for public enjoyment or for environmental or aesthetic reasons.
You can see a full list of the Tree Preservation Orders in Hastings on our Tree Preservation Orders webpage.
How are the trees protected?
The landscape of the town benefits from a diversity of woodlands and tree groups. It is recognised that these should be protected for future generations to enjoy, and also that they provide valuable habitats for wildlife in the urban environment.
The Council seeks to preserve the existing tree cover by placing Tree Preservation Orders on important specimens or group of trees, thereby prohibiting the removal, topping, lopping or wilful destruction of trees contained within the Order.
Trees covered by a Tree Preservation Order can only be pruned or felled with the Council's consent. The exceptions to this are where:
- The tree is dead, dying or dangerous
- The tree has to be cut down or pruned in connection with the work of a statutory undertaking, such as the electricity board or water authority
- Where the tree has to be removed to make way for a planning permission
Applications to fell or prune preserved trees should be on application forms available on this site stating the location and species of tree, and the type of work proposed or you can apply online providing the same information.
No fee is required.
Advice on works to trees can be obtained from the Council's Arboriculturist.
A leaflet 'Protected Trees - a guide to tree preservation procedures' is available from www.communities.gov.uk.
The only exception to this is when a planning application is granted for the redevelopment of a site. If trees are covered by a TPO and the consent includes the removal of such trees, then a separate application to fell the tree(s) is not required.
Trees in Conservation Areas
All trees in Conservation Areas are protected if they are over 75mm diameter, measured 1.5 meters above ground level. Trees not already included in a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) may only be pruned or felled after the Council has been given six weeks written notice of the proposed work. This allows the Council to assess the tree's amenity value and to make a TPO if necessary.
Forms are available from our Application Forms download area on this site.
The exception to this is if a planning application is granted for the redevelopment of a site, if this consent includes the removal of or works to such trees, a separate application is not required.
Trees within a woodland or ancient woodland
The Forestry Commission is the Government department with statutory responsibility for woodland. It is a non-statutory consultee on developments within 500 meters of an Ancient Woodland. Further information on their role, and the updated standing advice for planning on ancient woodland and veteran trees can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ancient-woodland-and-veteran-trees-protection-surveys-licences
Felling of trees which are not subject to a TPO may still require a Felling Licence from the Forestry Commission. Failure to fell under a proper licence is an offence subject to a penalty; see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/report-suspected-illegal-tree-felling
You can use the following websites to help you decide whether a development will affect ancient woodland (including wood pastures identified as ancient) or ancient and veteran trees:
- Natural England's ancient woodland inventory - download the data or view it on the Magic map website (zoom in to see local detail)
- ancient tree inventory (click on 'Tree search' and enter a postcode)
- Natural England's wood pasture and parkland inventory (includes some ancient sites) on the Magic map website (zoom in to see local detail)
Before felling any trees, please contact the Forestry Commission South East Office. Contact details can be found here.
Trees on building sites
The Council attaches great importance to the protection and safe retention of trees on development sites. Planning conditions are frequently attached to permissions to ensure the protection of trees during construction work.