Trees are a vital component of our landscape, enhancing the environment of our towns and villages and making a positive contribution to the quality of life. In certain situations they are protected by legislation.
Trees are protected in several different ways, for example they can be protected through Tree Preservation Orders, conservation areas, planning conditions and felling permissions.
You can check whether a tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order or situated within a conservation area on the attached list, or by using our interactive map.
How to apply for permission to carry out tree work
If the tree is planted within a conservation area you must give us six weeks written notice of your plan to carry out the tree work.
If the tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order or is a condition of a planning consent you need to get permission before you carry out any work to the tree.
It is an offence under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 to fell or to carry out any work on protected trees without permission. The offence can carry a fine of up to £20,000.
You can complete an application to carry out tree work through the Scottish Government eplanning portal. If you would like paper copies, they can also be found on the planning portal. All completed forms should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications for works to protected trees can be viewed on the public access register.
Further guidance on protected trees is provided in planning advice number 12 (pdf 48KB).
Requesting a Tree Preservation Order
If you feel that a tree is currently under threat and needs long term protection you can request a Tree Preservation Order be made. An officer will consider the request and assess the tree. Due to the high number of Tree Preservation Orders in place across Aberdeenshire and the cost of implementing them, they are usually only made in extreme circumstances where the tree is of significant value and the threat level is high.
Trees and development
We have produced a trees and development leaflet (pdf 550KB) that gives advice about trees and development.
The presence of trees on a site is a planning consideration when planning applications are being assessed. To enable an accurate assessment of the possible effects of development on trees, planning applications must include a good level of information.
Where a tree survey is submitted with a planning application it should include:
- location and size of the trees
- height, crown or canopy spread
- species of the trees
- health of the trees
- age of the trees, for example, young, mature and very mature
- any structural defects
In addition it is necessary to note the ground levels and any watercourses or services that may affect the tree roots. It should also identify which trees will be removed and those to be retained together with measures for their protection during development.
Protecting trees during development
Damage to, or loss of, trees during development is often caused accidentally by failing to appreciate how vulnerable trees are. Irreparable damage can be caused to the tree’s trunk, branches and roots by site clearance, earth moving, excavation, compaction and storage of materials.
Before any development starts, the trees to be retained should be securely fenced off, to a specification agreed by us. The fence should remain intact until the development is fully completed. No building materials, site huts or rubble should be stored or dumped, and no fires lit within this area.
It is always important to have your site surveyed by an expert in arboriculture. They will be able to advise on which trees should be retained and which will require any surgery. Survey and tree protection measures should meet the requirement of British Standard 5837
Further advice about protection of trees and woodlands during development can be sought from the relevant council office.
New Tree Preservation Orders
We have recently served the following Tree Preservation Variation Orders and as required by the above legislation we have made them available for public viewing.
Tree Preservation Order 131 (2021) The Old School House Auchenblae: