Trees and Woodland
Trees in Conservation Areas
What is a Conservation Area?
It's an area where special architectural or historical interest makes it important to preserve or enhance the area's character and appeal.
Pendle has 24 Conservation Areas.
Unless an exemption applies, any tree with with a trunk diameter of 75mm or more (measured from 1.5 metres above ground) is protected.It is an offence to prune, fell or damage a tree in a Conservation Area without first giving us notice.
How to tell if a tree is in a Conservation Area
All our Conservation Areas are mapped online.
The map is based on the official register, but it is not a legal document and is for information purposes only.
Managing protected trees
We offer a pre-application advice service if you want to do any work to a protected tree. There is a charge for this service. The Environment Officer will come to the site, survey your tree, and provide a written report which will help you when you are applying to do work to the tree.
Doing work to a tree in a Conservation Area
If you want to do work to a tree in a Conservation Area, you need to give us six weeks notice. This notice is known as a Section 211 Notice.
You should only submit a Section 211 Notice if you have a clear idea of the work you want to do. You should think about discussing your ideas with an arboriculturist, or getting some advice from our Environment Officer.
What should a Section 211 notice contain?
A Section 211 notice must describe, in writing, the work you propose to do. it must include sufficient information to identify the trees. You can either write your Section 211 notice as a letter, or you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you include the following information, it will cover what we need to know, and avoid delays to your application:
- name, address, telephone number and email of the tree owner
- name, address, telephone number and email of the agent or arborist if there is one
- species of tree and a brief description of its location
- the proposed work to be carried out to the tree. Be as specific as possible - just saying 'prune,''lop' or 'cut trees back' does not describe the work accurately enough. It might help to use the guidance notes for Tree Preservation Order applications
- a map that shows where the tree is located. It doesn't need to be complicated, or to scale. It can be a screen grab from a phone or a rough sketch plan photographed and attached.
- photographs. Include photos from different angles and details showing any issues with the tree (such as any fungal fruiting bodies)
How do I apply for a Section 211 notice?
- Read the notes for completing the application form
- Apply to do work on a tree in a Conservation Area (via the Planning Portal website)
- Download the Tree Preservation Order application form
What happens after I have applied for the Section 211 notice?
We will send you an acknowledgement that we have received your application. We then have two options:
- If we have no objection to the work being done, we'll send you a letter to tell you. We'll tell you the date that your six week notice period expires, and after that date you can do the work
- If we do object, we can make a Tree Preservation Order to stop the work being carried out. Read more about Tree Preservation orders here (LINK)
What happens if I do the work without giving you notice?
There are a few exceptions where you do not need our consent to do work to a tree in a Conservation Area
Read about the exceptions here
If you do work to a tree where there is no exception, and you do not give us notice, then you could be guilty of an offence. There are two main offences:
1. Anyone who, without a Notice, who:
- cuts down, uproots, or wilfully destroys a tree
- tops, lops or wilfully damages a tree in a way that is likely to destroy it
is guilty of an offence, and is liable for a fine of up to £20,000. In serious cases, you may be committed to trial in the Crown Court. If you are convicted, your fine could be unlimited. The definition of destroy, is to have rendered it useless as an amenity or as something worth preserving. It does not have to be completely obliterated.
2. Anyone who does any work without a Notice, even if it is not likely to destroy a tree, is also liable for a fine. For example, if you lop a tree in a Conservation Area without submitting a Notice, you would be guilty of this offence.
In this case, the penalty is a fine in the Magistrates Court of up to £2,500. The Magistrates Court can only deal with these types of offences if action is brought within 6 months of the time the offence is committed
You may claim that the work was permitted under one of the statutory exemptions. If you do, it is up to you to prove that the work fell within the terms of the exemption. It is not acceptable to say that you did not know that the tree was in a Conservation Area.
In both cases, you will be issued with a Tree Replacement Notice, and you will have to plant replacement trees.
This is why we recommend that you get advice from a competent arborist, or from our Environment Officer before you do any work.
Links to more information about trees in Conservation Areas
The GOV.UK website have a page which explains the legislation covering trees in Conservation Areas in simpler terms.