St Albans district residents urged to check before cutting trees

PUBLISHED: 07:01 23 April 2020

Gardeners in St Albans district could be fined if they inadvertently alter protected trees, and are being asked to check before starting work. Picture: St Albans City and District Council

Gardeners in St Albans district could be fined if they inadvertently alter protected trees, and are being asked to check before starting work. Picture: St Albans City and District Council

Archant

As the coronvirus lockdown continues, St Albans district residents are being reminded to check the status of trees before working on them.

Many are using the extra time spent at home to do more gardening, however they are asked to check if their trees are protected before cutting down branches, uprooting it or doing anything other work.

One neighbouring local authority has reported incidents of protected trees being cut without authorisation.

St Albans City and District Council is not aware of similar problems within its area but is acting to make residents aware of the need to check if a tree is protected.

Some trees or groups of trees seen as being particularly important are protected by Tree Preservation Orders or by virtue of being in a conservation area.

To carry out work on those trees, residents need to make an application to the council which decides if it can be allowed.

Councillor Jamie Day, portfolio holder for planning and building control, said: “With many people isolating at home and the warmer weather approaching, we want to ensure residents are aware of the rules regarding protected trees.

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“A map showing the location of these trees is available on our website together with information about how to gain authorisation for any work.

“Trees are a feature of great beauty and also improve the environment, so we want to retain our protected trees for everyone to enjoy now and in the future.

“I am sure our residents will respect the rules and endeavour to make sure they do not carry out work they need authorisation for.”

Anyone who destroys a protected tree can be fined up to £20,000 while the maximum penalty for damage is £2,500.

Residents can check if a tree is protected by looking at a map at gis.stalbans.gov.uk/WebMapLayers8/map.aspx.

Help on using the map can be found here gis.stalbans.gov.uk/WebMapLayers8/help/wml8_help.pdf.

More information about protected trees and how to make an application to carry out work is available at stalbans.gov.uk/tree-preservation-orders.

You can also make an enquiry to the council’s arboriculture team by emailing trees@stalbans.gov.uk.


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