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Trees and hedges
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Why are they so important?
The trees, hedgerows and woodlands in North Norfolk are incredibly valuable. They contribute significantly to the health and wellbeing of our local communities, the local environment, and the wider global environment by providing a range of ecosystem services.
What are the benefits?
- trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen
- capture and filter air pollution
- reduce the effects of flash flooding
- make our places beautiful
We are lucky to have a wealth of public and private woodlands, some recognised as ancient ones. The Forestry Commission manages some of these areas, as does the district council, and others are privately owned.
Preserving and protecting trees
North Norfolk's vibrant green landscape and natural habitat is brought about through its towns, villages, green spaces, parks, and gardens. One way of protecting our green heritage is through Tree Preservation orders and designated conservation areas, where a single tree, copse, woodland or even forest can be protected.
Tree Preservation Order (TPO)
Local councils in England can make a Tree Preservation Order to protect specific trees, groups of trees or woodlands.
An order stops the following happening to trees without the council's permission:
- cutting down
- wilful damage
- wilful destruction
If permission is given, it can be subject to conditions that must be followed. In the Secretary of State's view, cutting roots is prohibited and requires the council's consent.
Search for a Tree Preservation Order
Located within a conservation area
Find out if your property is within a conservation area.
Find out more about Tree Preservation Orders and trees in conservation areas - GOV.UK
A planning condition imposed on a Planning Approval
Search the Planning Public Access system to check the planning history on your property.
The felling of woodlands or large numbers of trees may require a tree felling licence from the Forestry Commission.
If you want to carry out work on a tree
Find out if a tree is protected
View instructions on how to use the search tool.
You may commit an offence if you fell or prune trees, even if they are not included in a TPO. If in doubt, you should always check before doing any work to trees. By selecting the search box below, you confirm that you have read and understood the disclaimer.
Search for a tree preservation order
If a property is not listed
If the property you are looking for does not appear in your search results. The property name or number may have changed since serving the order, and a tree preservation order may still cover the property.
If your search does not reveal a tree preservation order (TPO), there may be other ways in which the trees are legally protected. Visit is my tree protected page? for further information.
Find out who owns a tree
The owner of the land the tree grows on is the tree's owner. If you want to work on trees growing on property other than your own, you will need to get permission from the owner of the trees. It is advisable to obtain this agreement in writing.
You can access information for a small fee from the Land Registry if you need to know who owns a property.
If you have a TPO on your tree
Owners of protected trees must not carry out, or cause or permit the carrying out of, any of the prohibited activities without the written consent of the local council. The same penalties for contravening a TPO apply to trees located in conservation area.
In all cases, we encourage good tree management. Though we cannot provide an inspection service for residents, many reputable and competent arboricultural contractors and consultants are in the local area.
Especially in the case of large trees or those within falling distance of people, property or the road, trees must be inspected periodically, and necessary maintenance must be carried out to ensure they remain safe.
Applying to cut down or carry out tree surgery on a protected tree
The works to trees page on the Planning Portal website has further information if you would like to work on a protected tree or check if a protected tree has permission to be worked on.
You apply via the Planning Portal website and you will need to register before you start your application. Also read the guidance notes on the Planning Portal website.
We have set out the validation requirements, which are the following:
- a completed application form
- a plan which identifies the land to which the application relates drawn to a specified scale indicating the northerly direction
- other plans and drawings or information necessary to describe the subject of the application
Trees should be marked on a plan of the site or garden. Try to be as specific as possible.
- the tree will be pruned to give 1m clearance of overhead lines
- the crown will be pruned in height from 8m to 7m and spread from 5m to 4m
- low branches will be removed to give clearance of 3m
If you are planning to replace a tree, let us know. Photos can also help to show a problem.
Why are they important
Our hedges are significant. They support a vast range of bird species, mammals and butterflies. The ditches and banks associated with hedgerows provide a habitat for frogs, toads, newts and reptiles. They are part of our historical landscape and link habitats.
What are the benefits?
- capture carbon dioxide
- helps reduce flooding
- act as a wind shelter
- reduce the effects of air pollution
Planting new hedgerows help tackle habitat loss, and we encourage new native species hedgerows wherever appropriate.
Current legislation protects certain hedgerows.
Applying to remove a hedgerow
You will need to apply to North Norfolk District Council if you want to remove a hedgerow that is:
- on or alongside agricultural land
- common land, including town or village greens
- land used for forestry
- used for breeding or keeping of horses, ponies or donkeys
- protected land, such as a local nature reserve or a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
It is essential to consider the timing of the work to avoid disturbance to protected species. We encourage all applicants to do an ecological survey to assess the importance of the hedgerow.
How to apply
You apply via the Planning Portal website and you will need to register before you start your application.
Domestic and garden hedges
These are not protected and do not require a hedgerow removal notice. If you are considering removing your garden hedge or erecting an impermeable boundary in your garden, please consider leaving gaps to allow the passage of small mammals, including hedgehogs.
Complain about a high hedge
Find out how to complain about a high hedge (north-norfolk.gov.uk).