Trees and hedges

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Trees and Hedges

Find out about tree preservation orders, the development and management of trees and woodland, and how we manage hedgerows in North Lincolnshire.

Use our online maps to view Tree Protection Orders and conservation areas in North Lincolnshire.  Select the ‘Environment’ section on the map.


What are Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)?

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) enable the council to protect important trees. They can be placed on any tree, group of trees or woodland that has significant amenity value.

Trees that are exempt from TPOs are those that are:

  • Dead
  • Dangerous

Tree Preservation Orders prohibit:

  • Cutting down
  • Uprooting
  • Topping and lopping*
  • Wilful damage or destruction

*Removal of dead wood may be exempt. Contact the council to check this (contact details are below).

  • If a tree is dead, or parts of it are in a dangerous condition, an application is not always required. The council will normally expect to be given five days written notice any work on the dangerous parts of the tree.
  • If someone removes a tree with a TPO area without permission, or because it is dead, or in a dangerous condition, they must replace it, and the new tree will be protected by the TPO.

Trees in conservation areas

  • Nearly all trees in conservation areas are protected.
  • Anyone wishing to fell a tree or carry out works to a tree in a conservation area must give the council six weeks written notice.
  • We then decide whether to make a TPO to protect the tree from future works, or allow the works to go ahead.
  • It is an offence to start works without the council’s consent. This could result in a penalty as stated above.
  • If a tree is dead, or parts of it are in a dangerous condition, consent is not always required. The council will normally expect to be given five days written notice any work on the dangerous parts of the tree.
  • If someone removes a tree in a conservation area without permission, or because it is dead, or in a dangerous condition, they must replace it.

Visit GOV.UK or the Planning Portal for more information.


Doing work without the council’s consent is an offence. If convicted by a magistrate, the maximum penalty is £20,000. Crown courts can impose unlimited fines.

Our policy

We will investigate threat to trees. We make temporary  orders if the tree has significant amenity value. These orders allow for discussion over a period of six months. We will usually decide whether to make the temporary order permanent within this period.

Replacing trees

  • Protected trees must be replaced if removed without consent, or if a tree is dead or dangerous.
  • The council can make people put trees back by serving a notice on them.
  • If the council decides to allow the removal of a TPO tree it may require a replacement.
  • The original TPO will apply to trees which replace ones that have been removed without consent.
    The council will protect the tree(s) by using planning conditions or, by modifying/remaking the TPO.

Mature trees enhances land value and environmental quality. Established trees give a feel of maturity to new development and enhance the sustainability of our environment.

The council has developed strategies to enhance tree management and adopted Supplementary Planning Guidance.

Retaining trees needs accurate and detailed information.

Before deciding anything about the development of a site it should be properly surveyed. Site survey information can be used in all other site development matters and is also used to produce a tree survey. This plots the position of all trees and hedges and provides accurate information on the crown spread and trunk girth, species, health and amenity value of the trees. This information is then used by an tree specialist to identify trees worthy of retention.

Tree protection during construction

It is vital to protect identified trees before any work starts. Over 90 per cent of tree roots are very close to the soil surface (within 600 mm).

Significant damage is caused by plant and machinery used in site clearance as this compacts the soil. Raising ground levels around trees also smothers roots.

Sturdy fences should be erected to enclose the area covered by the spread of the branches, or an area equal to half the height of the tree, whichever is the greater. These areas must then be left undisturbed during site works:

  • nothing should be stored or sited in them
  • vehicles should not be allowed to pass into them
  • fires must not be lit within them or within scorching distance of tree canopies


The relationship between buildings and trees can be beneficial to both if considered at the design stage.

Building works can damage roots and buildings can rob trees of light, and vice versa. So, on sites with trees, it is in everyone’s interest to get the design and siting of buildings right.

Where possible, buildings should be set away from the crown spread of trees, sited to the south of large trees or trees that will become large.

The Trees and Development SPG provides a means of calculating how far a building should be sited away from the tree(s) to be retained.

Similar consideration applies to other issues related to preserving soil structure around trees. These include:

  • temporary site access
  • general site access
  • ways of working within exclusion zones when this is the only possible way of proceeding

Soil type

It is important in determining distances between trees and new buildings. It should be established as a matter of course through site investigation. Where it is not possible to build away from trees to be retained, root barriers or novel foundation constructions may be a way forward. Novel foundations will require design by a structural engineer to show compliance with the building regulations.

Site works and service provision

Avoiding root disturbance will ensure the successful retention of trees and hedges.

Site works such as trenching for foundations, service runs and road construction should be kept well clear of established zones.

Properly designed service provision using common service trenches will also save money.

The Forestry Commission provides advice and information about trees and woods. It administers grants for woodland creation and management.

Information about trees and woods is available to the council and the public.

The commission consults the council about the Woodland Grant Scheme. We hold a copy of the Public Register of applications.

Our Environment team is pleased to discuss any proposals about woods.

There are opportunities to plant and manage woods in schemes administered by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

In some circumstances, we can help you resolve issues with high hedges if you are unable to come to an agreement with your neighbour. Please take a look at the High Hedges guides on GOV.UK.

By law, if you are considering removing an agricultural hedgerow from your land, you must make an application to us so that we can determine whether the hedgerow is considered important from a historical or environmental perspective. For more information, please visit the Countryside hedgerows: protection and management page on GOV.UK.