Protected trees across Hertsmere illegally pruned and cut during lockdown

PUBLISHED: 17:35 16 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:35 16 April 2020

Officers have seen people pruning and cutting protected trees in Hertsmere. Picture: Pixabay.

Officers have seen people pruning and cutting protected trees in Hertsmere. Picture: Pixabay.

Archant

With the warmer weather and people staying home during the coronavirus pandemic, Hertsmere Borough Council is reminding people to check whether their trees are protected before carrying out any work.

Unfortunately, during the isolation period officers have seen people pruning and cutting protected trees, which could damage them – possibly irreparably – preventing future generations from enjoying them.

The message from officers is to check whether your tree is protected before starting any work. You can do this using an online map – www.hertsmere.gov.uk/treemap - which shows the position of all trees with a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) in place, as well as the boundaries for conservation areas.

Alternatively you can email planning.trees@hertsmere.gov.uk for confirmation of any protection orders that may be in place.

Cllr Seamus Quilty, portfolio holder for environment, said: “We want to ensure residents are informed about protected trees and conservation areas across the borough, so that any work carried out is legal. Our aim is to retain protected trees for future generations to enjoy and to prevent residents being penalised for a genuine mistake.”

If you want to carry out work on a tree protected by a Tree Preservation Order, you must submit an application form to the council.

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The form can be found on www.hertsmere.gov.uk/TreeInfo.

Once valid, a decision notice will be issued within eight weeks.

For trees in conservation areas, a notification of intent to carry out works must be submitted using the same form. Once valid, you must wait six weeks before proceeding with the proposed works.

Under the Town and Country Planning Regulations 2012, it is a criminal offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy, or cause or permit such actions to any part of a tree afforded protection by a Tree Preservation Order without consent from your Local Planning Authority.

All trees within a conservation area – that measure over 7.5cm diameter at 1.5m above ground level – are also afforded protection.

If found guilty of an offence a potentially unlimited fine can be imposed.

For more info visit www.hertsmere.gov.uk/TreeFAQ.


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