Guidance about working on trees in the area and how to apply to carry out the work.

Tree work guidance

Protection of retained trees on development sites

Where there are trees that could affect, or be affected by a planning application, we may require a tree survey to be carried out and submitted in support of the application. The tree survey should be carried out by an arboriculturist, as detailed within the British Standard, otherwise an application will not be considered valid.

Common damage to trees during development:

•    abrasion of bark and wounds that leave wood tissue exposed

•    crushing of roots by vehicles / plant equipment and / or storage of materials

•    severing and removal of roots by excavation

•    broken branches, leaving wood tissues exposed

•    poor pruning

•    fire damage

•    poisoning of roots from spillage, or storage of fuel, oil, chemicals and any other potentially noxious materials

•    changes in soil levels around trees, resulting in root death

•    installation of impermeable surfaces

The part of the tree most susceptible to damage is the root system because:

•    roots cannot be seen and their extent is not realised

•    of a lack of understanding of root function and their importance for the health of the tree

The affects of damage can be serious, but often it takes several years for this to become evident and is not always linked back to the actual cause during development work. Often, by the time the damage becomes evident, the developer may no longer own the site, leaving the new owner with the problem and the potential need for costly tree work. Lack of protection can also result in damage to bark and branches that can disfigure a tree and result in disease and decay that also reduces safe life expectancy.

Roots may extend horizontally for considerable distances and, where conditions are suitable, this distance may be equivalent to two, or even three times, the tree height. these are easily damaged by crushing and removal during soil stripping operations. The main structural support roots are usually found within a few metres of the tree stem and these are linked to the fibrous roots by a network of cable-like roots that also provide additional anchorage. All tree roots are important.

'BS 5837 Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction Recommendations offers more detailed information regarding appropriate tree protection.

Anyone submitting a planning application where trees are affected should ensure that they seek advice from an appropriate professional adviser, to reduce the chance of delay with their application.

For more details of what is needed when submitting a planning application where trees are on or adjacent to the site:

Tree work notification guidance notes (PDF , 98KB)

Supplementary planning information

Trees in National Parks

Lake District National Park: Trees and hedgerows

Lake District National Park: Contact us

Yorkshire Dales National Park: Trees and woodlands

Yorkshire Dales National Park: Contact the trees and woodlands team

Felling trees in the countryside

GOV.UK: Tree felling provides an overview and further information from the Forestry Commission.

To help protect Britain's trees and woodland, you will require a felling licence from the Forestry Commission to fell most trees.

Ash Dieback disease and tree pests

Ash dieback disease, Chalara fraxinea, is a serious threat to the health of Ash trees in the UK. Forestry Research: Chalara Ash Dieback provides information about the disease.

Submit a report to Forestry Research about Ash dieback or any other tree pests or diseases. It is important if you suspect a case of the disease you report it immediately; as it results in leaf loss and crown dieback and can result in tree death.

GOV.UK: Find a specific tree pest or disease which includes the pest or disease's lifecycle, the type of damage it does, and what to do about it.

GOV.UK: Forestry Commission contact details