Epping Forest District has a rich built and natural environment, and we have a statutory responsibility to protect these features. The Trees and Landscape team deals with the protection and enhancement of the natural landscape through the Town and Country planning process. Another key role is to contribute to the production of the district wide Local Plan in relation to policy governing landscaping and heritage conservation.
Local Planning Authorities have specific powers to protect trees by making Tree Preservation Orders. In addition, special provisions apply to trees within Conservation Areas designated by Local Planning Authorities.
Tree Preservation Orders
A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is a legal order made by the local planning authority (LPA). Except in special circumstances- for example if it has become dangerous- it is illegal for anyone to damage or to fell a protected tree without first having been given consent. The same restriction even applies to pruning.
We choose to protect trees, often on development sites, where they are under threat and which we judge to be important local assets. In the TPO preserved trees are shown as individuals or in groups, areas or woodlands. There are no particular species that are ‘automatically’ covered.
Find out more about Tree Preservation Orders.
Trees and Development Sites
Trees form a vital part of the fabric of our environment. They provide a valuable continuity from generation to generation, help soften the impact of new buildings and emphasize important focal points in the townscape and landscape.
The Council's aim has always been to ensure the continued presence of trees, hedgerows and woodlands throughout the district, by the use of its planning powers and through negotiation. We are now making an increased effort to ensure that development proposals do not result in the loss of this inheritance.
If you are involved in the development process, whether as architect, agent, surveyor, builder, developer or contractor, or indeed as town planner, landscape architect or aboriculturalist, please read our British Standard Guidance note.
Trees in Conservation Areas
All trees in Conservation Areas are also protected as part of the Conservation Area designation. Find out more about Trees in Conservation Areas.
Felling of trees which are not subject to a TPO may still require a Felling Licence from the Forestry Commission. Failure to fell under a proper licence is an offence subject to a penalty. For further information please see the Forestry Commission online information: Planning applications affecting trees and woodland.
Councils also have powers to deal with complaints about High Hedges.
The National Grid Tree Warden Scheme is a scheme to involve volunteers in protecting and managing their local trees. Epping Forest District Council runs the scheme locally, but it is co-ordinated nationally by The Tree Council. You can find out more details through Countrycare.
People in Epping Forest District greatly value their trees. They want them looked after. But they also want their say on how that is done. Epping Forest District Council has pioneered a series of five community based tree strategies, which take a closer look at the trees in their local context, to give guidance to all concerned with the planting and care of trees, woods and hedgerows.
Landmark Trees are those trees which local people consider most important to their area. They may be particularly large, or old, or of an unusual species.
We encourage nominations of Landmark trees by the community via local Tree Wardens