When is a tree not a tree?

When is a tree not a tree?

Postby Bosun » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:01 pm

Here's the problem.
I live in a conservation area. A few years ago a previous owner of my property planted a line of the dreaded Leylandii along a boundary wall to shield the property from a dual carriageway. The council planted a selection of tree types on the road side of the boundary, I'm sure with privacy also in mind. These 'council' trees are now mature and quite happily screen the garden from the road. Because of this I wish to remove my trees.
My Leylandii are now some 20ft high, having not been kept at hedge height, and have encroached significantly into my garden. If these Leylandii are still classed as a hedge gone mad, then I can no doubt just remove them. However, if they are now trees then I guess I will require permission as their girth now exceeds the limit (75cm at 1.5m height, if I recall correctly).
My question is, can I chop them down without permission from the council using the 'hedge gone mad' excuse if anyone asks, or do I have to go through the process of applying to the council for permission to cut them down?
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Re: When is a tree not a tree?

Postby kipper » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:25 pm

If they are your trees, planted on your land and there is no Tree Protection Order on the trees (unlikely for a Leylandii hedge) then you are free to remove the trees without any permission required.
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Re: When is a tree not a tree?

Postby Bosun » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:30 pm

Now that, Kipper, is exactly the reply I was hoping for. Thanks!!!!!!!!
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Re: When is a tree not a tree?

Postby TO » Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:23 pm

Hi

kipper wrote:If they are your trees, planted on your land and there is no Tree Protection Order on the trees (unlikely for a Leylandii hedge) then you are free to remove the trees without any permission required.
Bosun wrote:Now that, Kipper, is exactly the reply I was hoping for. Thanks!!!!!!!!
Glad you've heard what you want. Shame it wouldn't make for a good defence should you end up in Court having cut down a row of trees protected by the conservation area, with a potential fine of £20,000 per tree. Speak to your local tree officer, they'll give you advice as to whether they're trees or a hedge, and what you need to do.

TO
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Re: When is a tree not a tree?

Postby kipper » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:06 pm

Sorry, I suppose leylandii are still trees whether they form a hedge or not, so under the strict letter of the law you would have to submit a section 211 notice whether the hedge had been maintained or not once the trunk diameter was over 75mm @ 1.3m high. From your description of the situation and the fact they sound to be mostly hidden from public view now, It seems unlikely that would have any trouble gaining permission for removal or at the very least maintenance to cut back.
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Re: When is a tree not a tree?

Postby hzatph » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:20 pm

kipper wrote:If they are your trees, planted on your land and there is no Tree Protection Order on the trees (unlikely for a Leylandii hedge) then you are free to remove the trees without any permission required.


Is this correct? I thought trees in conservation areas did not need TPOs as they were protected anyway due to the conservation area status.
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Re: When is a tree not a tree?

Postby TO » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:56 pm

Hi
hzatph wrote:
kipper wrote:If they are your trees, planted on your land and there is no Tree Protection Order on the trees (unlikely for a Leylandii hedge) then you are free to remove the trees without any permission required.

Is this correct? I thought trees in conservation areas did not need TPOs as they were protected anyway due to the conservation area status.


Trees in conservation areas have a degree of protection similar to that of trees subject to a TPO, in that if you fell or prune the tree without going through the red tape the penalties are the same. However there are a few differences when it comes to applying to work on the tree, and what the Council can and can't do.

Firstly if the tree is protected by a TPO you must apply for consent to carry out work to it on the appropriate form. You must state your reasons for the works,and if necessary provide evidence to support your application. The Council should deal with your application within 8 weeks. If they don't you can't do the works, but you can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate on the grounds of non-determination of your application. The Council can impose conditions on its decision, such as planting a replacement tree.

If the tree is in a conservation area you give the Council 6 weeks prior notice of your intentions to carry out the works. This can be in a letter, via e-mail, or on the form, but it doesn't have to be on the form. You do not have to give reasons, or provide evidence to support your notice, but it does help. The Council has 6 weeks to consider your notice. They have in effect two choices. If they do not object to the works let you do the them, or if they do object, make a TPO. You will then have to apply to work on the tree under the TPO. If the 6 weeks expires without word from the Council you can do the works, unless of course they make a TPO at sometime. They cannot condition a notification.

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Re: When is a tree not a tree?

Postby Bosun » Sat Apr 27, 2013 5:13 pm

Thanks for the advice everybody.

I suppose I was hoping to be able to just get rid of the trees(!) without any hassle, as nobody but me would ever know they had gone.

However, I will fill in the form and hope for the best - the 'tree police' in my area have been very overbearing and just plain obstructive in the past, so I'm afraid that by raising my head above the parapet I may receive all manner of threats from them rather than permission to fell the darn things. :(
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Re: When is a tree not a tree?

Postby Bosun » Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:25 pm

Chaps,

Just to end this thread.

I did apply, with many misgivings, to officially remove the offending trees, and, after a site visit (that I knew nothing about), consultation with the local town council (who follow the advice of the 'tree police'), notices in the local newspaper, and consultation with the Forestry Commission, I have been allowed to remove the whole lot!!!!

Yippee!

Many thanks for your sage advice.
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