Protecting Trees

There are a number of ways that trees are protected by law within the UK. These include Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs), Conservation Areas, the Felling Licence system, Restrictive Covenants, and planning conditions within the planning system. It is important to find out from your local council whether any legal restrictions apply before you undertake any work on trees as you may be liable to prosecution if permission is not first obtained – The Arboricultural Association has produced a useful guide to Trees and the Law.

Trees, hedges and woodland are an integral part of Devon’s countryside and towns, and they provide multiple benefits to society, including filtering air pollution, reducing surface water runoff /contributing to sustainable drainage, providing wildlife habitats, improving water quality and the stabilising of soils and slopes.

Devon’s hedges are particularly special. They are of great historical importance, define the county’s beautiful farmed landscapes, and support an immense amount of wildlife. Devon Hedge Group provides information on Devon’s hedges are why they are so important for biodiversity and landscape.

Also of special value are Devon’s orchards, Ancient Woodland, veteran trees & ancient pasture woodland as they form part of its historic landscapes, including many historic parkland estates and deigned landscapes.  Download the Woodland Trust Ancient Tree Guide which explains what ancient & veteran trees are and why they are important. Also visit the Ancient Tree Inventory, which allows users to search, submit and update records for ancient/veteran trees.

Trees, hedges and woodland are also key parts of our green infrastructure in and around cities and towns – visit the Devon County Council GI strategy


SOUTH HAMS DISTRICT COUNCIL – LATEST SIMPLE GUIDE  (provided by Lee Marshall, SHDC Tree Officer. Valid at 3.9.2019 )

This is one of a series of Operations Notes produced by the Forestry Commission.

Here is an updated version of our booklet “Tree Felling – getting permission”. This replaces the old ‘blue cover’ booklet with the same name and which many of you will be familiar with. It is a really clear explanation of how and when to apply for a felling licence, with lots of links to further guidance. We hope you find it useful and would encourage you to share it with your contacts.

We would particularly draw attention to the section on hedgerow protection, since our Woodland Officers have been following up a lot of reports recently in relation to hedgerow work. Trees outside woodlands, including those in hedgerows, are covered by the same legislation and subject to the same volume thresholds and exemptions. If you are going to be carrying out felling of trees in hedgerows, please familiarise yourself with the regulations.

We have also recently produced new guidance on a wide variety of topics, designed to give woodland owners, managers, forestry agents and timber suppliers in England updates on working with the Forestry Commission.

We thought this email was a good opportunity to give you an updated list of some of the most recent guidance on Ash Dieback:

FC Guidance

Managing Ash Dieback in England (scroll down to “Latest”)

Introductory Leaflet

August 2019

Management of individual ash trees with Ash Dieback

Operations Notes

7 Aug 2019

Managing Woodland SSSIs with Ash Dieback (FC/NE)

24 June 2019

Managing Ash in woodlands

20 Sept 2018

Ecological Impacts of Ash Dieback and Mitigation


July 2017

External Guidance

10 Case Studies

Royal Forestry Society

July 2019

Ash Dieback – An Action Plan Toolkit

Defra/Tree Council

Feb 2019

Safety Guidance Note – Felling Dead Ash

Forest Industry Safety Accord/Euroforest

April 2018

ADB – Farmer Information Sheet

NFU/FWAG/Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum

Sept 2019

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