Trees and development

Trees and development

Trees can occupy a substantial part of a development site and because of their potential size, they can have a major influence on the planning and use of a site.

They can make an important contribution to our environment, providing wildlife habitats, screening and softening hard landscapes. If existing trees of good quality and value are retained, they can greatly enhance new development, such as providing an immediate appearance of maturity and adding to property values.

Trees are, however, extremely vulnerable to damage during construction works and suitable precautions can be taken to provide adequate space and protection to trees before and during development. In granting planning permission adequate provision is made for the protection and planting of trees, both through the use of planning conditions and of Tree Preservation Orders.

Trees on development sites are particularly vulnerable to disruption during the construction process, and damage is often irreparable leading to decline and death. Such damage is not usually deliberate and is more often than not due to lack of understanding of how easily trees can be harmed by nearby activities.

Further advice is available in the notes below, alternatively please contact the council’s Tree Officer on 01246 959702 or email

Hedgerow removal

Where hedgerows or lengths of hedgerow are to be removed to facilitate developments, sufficient information should be submitted to allow the council to:

  • assess whether the proposed removals fall within the scope of the Hedgerow Regulations 1997
  • assess whether the hedgerows to be removed are "important" by virtue of the Hedgerow Regulations 1997

The system applies to most countryside hedgerows and in particular, it affects hedgerows that are 20 metres or longer, or which meet another hedgerow at each end. All these hedgerows must be on, or adjoining, land used for agriculture or forestry, the breeding or keeping of horses, ponies or donkeys; common land, village greens, Sites of Special Scientific Interest or Local Nature Reserves. Garden hedges are not affected.

The system is concerned with the removal of these hedgerows, either in whole or in part. "Removal" includes not only grubbing up, but also acts that result in the destruction of a hedgerow.

The regulations set out criteria that must be used by the local planning authority in determining which hedgerows are important. The criteria relate to the value of the hedgerows from an archaeological, historical, landscape or wildlife perspective. They exclude hedgerows that are less than 30 years old. If a hedgerow is at least 30 years old and qualifies under any one of the criteria, then it is important.

The procedure in the regulations is triggered only when land managers (the freehold owner and, in the case of agricultural holdings or farm business tenancies, the tenant) or utility operators want to remove a hedge. They must first notify the local planning authority, setting out their reasons for wanting to remove the hedgerow. The local planning authority generally has 42 calendar days from the receipt of notification in which to give or refuse consent to the notified work.

If you wish to make an application for hedgerow removal, the application forms and guidance notes are available to download below.

If our documents are not accessible to you, you can request a different format here.
Guidance Note: Trees and Development PDF (PDF 169 KB)
Hedgerow Removal Notice Application Form PDF (PDF 614 KB)
Hedgerow Removal Notice Application Guidance Notes PDF (PDF 27 KB)

Last updated on 12 November 2021