Many of us live within the Stinchcombe Conservation Area (see the area marked in green on the map). Not everyone realises that this gives automatic protection to any trees on our land above a certain size.
You can also see it on this map..https://stroud.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=8bbb5774fccb4fa79750bd1bb07706de
Cutting down, lopping or wilfully damaging a tree with a diameter of more than 75 mm at a height of 1.5 m above the natural ground level is an offence unless a Section 211 notice has been submitted to Stroud District Council (SDC). The notice must be submitted at least 6 weeks before the work is carried out to give SDC time to consider it.
- a tree being felled solely to improve the growth of other trees can have a diameter of 100 mm before a Section 211 notice is required
- SDC’s Planning Enforcement Policy states that consent is not required for dead, dying or dangerous trees
- a planning application that includes specified tree work can be treated as a Section 211 notice for works to trees immediately affected by the proposed development.
Landowners have a duty to replace felled trees with another tree of an appropriate size and species, in the same place, as soon as they reasonably can. SDC has the power to enforce this duty or to grant a dispensation in response to a written request.
SDC’s Planning Enforcement Policy puts complaints involving protected trees into the “Priority Complaints – Requiring Immediate Investigation” category. They have six months to bring a prosecution, which could lead to a fine of up to £20,000 in the magistrates’ court or, in serious cases, an unlimited fine in the Crown Court. In many cases they may negotiate remedial works with the landowner or issue an informal warning rather than prosecute.