A conservation area is ‘an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance’. Hertsmere currently has sixteen conservation areas, which allow certain extra controls to be placed on development in order to retain the special character of these areas.
Trees form an integral part of the character of these areas, so all trees in conservation areas are given a certain level of protection under the Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation) (England) Regulations 2012.
Frequently asked questions
Can I work on/fell trees in a conservation area?
In order to work on a tree in a conservation area you are required to give six weeks' written notice describing what you want to do. This can be done by letter or email - it is recommended that you use the standard form to ensure that you provide all the necessary information. Alternatively you can submit an electronic notification via the Planning Portal.
The purpose of giving notice is to enable us to assess the tree(s) and decide whether they are worthy of being protected with a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). When a notification of tree works in a conservation area is received, there are three options available to us:
- make a TPO if this is justified in the interests of amenity; or
- decide not to make a TPO and let the six week period expire; or
- decide not to make a TPO and write to the applicant to let them know the work can go ahead.
If a tree in a conservation area is felled without consent or is damaged in a manner likely to destroy it you could be liable to an unlimited fine. If other work (such as pruning) is carried out to a tree in a conservation area without consent this could lead to a fine of up to £2,500.
Is six weeks' notice required for all tree works?
You do not need to give notice of work to trees that have a stem diameter of less than 7.5cm measured at 1.5m above the ground (or 10cm if thinning to help the growth of other trees).
What if a tree in a conservation area is also subject of a TPO?
If a tree in a conservation area is also protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) then normal TPO procedures
How do I report work to a tree in a conservation area that I think may be unauthorised?
Please contact the tree section or the duty planning officer and provide details of the work. We will first check whether notice has been given for the work, and what the outcome of it was, and if we don't have a record of it we will pass all complaints to the planning enforcement team to investigate.
In order to investigate we need to know the following information:
- The address where the tree work is taking place
- The type of tree (if known)
- Whether the work is currently underway or has already been carried out
- You name, address and a contact telephone number. (We cannot accept anonymous complaints - please see our Enforcement Charter).
Our Biodiversity, Trees and Landscape Supplementary Planning Document contains more detailed information on protected trees and the application process. Part D covers protected trees, woodlands and hedgerows.
The other parts of this guide which cover biodiversity and trees and development can be found on the Supplementary Planning Documents
Publications from Inside Government
If you cannot find the answer to your question here, please contact the trees team at email@example.com or at the Civic Offices below.