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Trees in Conservation Areas

Our district currently has Conservation Areas in 17 settlements; Alford, Binbrook, Burgh le Marsh, Horncastle, Hundleby, Louth, Raithby, Revesby, South Willingham, Spilsby, North Thoresby, Old Bolingbroke, Tattershall, Thimbleby, Wainfleet, Woodhall Spa and Wragby.

If you live in, or are planning works to trees, in one of these settlements you can check whether a tree is within the Conservation Area by viewing our e-mapping service or by contacting us.

Carrying Out Works to Trees within a Conservation Area

If a tree located within a Conservation Area is already the subject of a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) then the TPO procedures are followed (see the 'Tree Preservation Orders' page). If no TPO applies, then prior to carrying out any works to the tree, 6 weeks notice (a section 211 notice) must be given in writing to us.

This applies to pruning or felling of any tree with a trunk of over 75 mm in diameter measured 1.5 metres above ground level, regardless of species.

Giving Notice

If you plan to carry out works to a tree or trees that you already know are within a Conservation Area then you can make a notification by downloading the Notification Form for Conservation Area Tree Work (PDF) [406KB] (opens new window)  and accompanying  Guidance Notes (PDF) [553KB] (opens new window) on how to give notice. The form can be filled in electronically and returned via email, to ensure it is processed as quickly as possible.

If you would like help in preparing your notification or specifying tree work you should contact a reputable tree surgeon, who will be able to advise on suitable work, how to describe this on the form and will also give you an indication of what the work might cost to carry out. Where required, many contractors will prepare and submit the paperwork on behalf of a householder at little or no extra cost.

It is important that you describe your proposed work clearly, particularly in relation to branch or crown reduction work. The guidance notes cover this in some detail and state that references to percentages should be avoided when describing crown reductions. Also that descriptions of proposed work should instead refer to the intended height and spread of the tree after pruning. The latest British Standard for tree work BS3998:2010 similarly makes clear that references to percentage reductions are "imprecise and unsatisfactory without reference to length, height, spread etc" and goes on to extend this approach to include stating the intended end result for specific branches where necessary. 

It should be noted that where pruning is to achieve clearance from a structure or from the ground, a finished clearance measurement will suffice. For example: "crown lift to achieve 4m clearance above ground level" or "reduction of branches on west side of tree to achieve 3m horizontal clearance from the house".

Please note that any notification forms received by us, that quote percentages without reference to finished dimensions will likely be delayed as clarification is sought, and will ultimately be returned as invalid if more precise information isn't forthcoming.

If you need further guidance on notifying or clarification of whether the work needs a formal notification, please contact us. In some circumstances an exemption may apply (see below) such as for safety reasons, and we also allow certain minor works without requiring a notification. These are outlined in the our tree policy documents Part 1 (PDF) [2MB] (opens new window)  and Part 2 (PDF) [2MB] (opens new window)  , and are also shown as diagrams in the notification guidance notes. 

The purpose of a Conservation Area Tree Work Notice (a s211 notice) is to give us time to consider whether to place a TPO on the affected tree(s) or to allow the 6 week period to lapse and the work to be carried out. We will notify you of our decision in writing.

Register of Notifications

Please note that your notification and our decision will be included in a publicly available record of CA notifications (PDF) [675KB] (opens new window)  and in certain circumstances may be copied to neighbours and other third parties. 

Works Urgently Required for Safety Reasons

It is not the intention of a Conservation Area designation to keep unsafe trees, nor to prevent work that is needed in order to make a tree safe. There are specific exemptions within the legislation (as for TPOs), which help to ensure works that must be done to a tree because of an imminent danger are not stopped. Examples are where a branch has split/broken in a gale and is hanging in the tree, or where a tree has begun to uproot and is likely to fall.

Anyone planning to do works under this exemption should first seek the advice of a tree expert and must give us 5 working days prior written notice before carrying out the work, except in an emergency, to avoid the risk of prosecution. Similarly, felling of dead trees can be carried out without an application, but only after giving 5 working days prior written notice, except in an emergency (see above). Any work carried out in an emergency must be followed by notifying us of the work as soon as practicable after the work starts. Anyone carrying out work under this exemption is strongly advised to retain evidence of the emergency (for example photographs), in case its legality is later questioned.

Tree Felling or Damage in the Conservation Area

If you are concerned that trees in a Conservation Area may be felled or damaged unlawfully, get in touch with us as soon as possible. We investigate all reported unlawful tree work and will take enforcement action where appropriate.  Anyone who cuts down, uproots, tops, lops, wilfully destroys or wilfully damages a tree in contravention of a TPO is guilty of a criminal offence and could be liable to a fine of up to £20,000.