Tree policy

Trees are beautiful.  They provide social, environmental, economic and health benefits.  They are an essential feature of our district improving air quality and absorbing and storing carbon dioxide helping to combat climate charge.  They intercept rainwater to help prevent localised flooding, help reduce noise pollution and provide a canopy and habitat for wildlife, improving the overall amenity value of the area. 

We are responsible for the maintenance of the majority of trees on Council owned land and we have written a policy that sets out how we will meet our obligations but also how we will ensure that we safeguard and maximise the benefits that trees provide.  You can find the full policy here.

We also own a number of areas of woodland in the District, which are home to a variety of different species and are open for the enjoyment of the public:

You can find out more information on more what to explore in the great outdoors here hyperlink to page

The Management of Non-Council Owned Trees

Our tree management policy focuses on the responsibilities of the Council but other parties and organisations also have responsibility for the management and maintenance of trees.

Trees on or adjacent to the public Highways (footpaths, roads and verges)

When trees growing on privately owned land pose a risk to highway users (pedestrians, cyclists or motorists) this should be reported to North Yorkshire County Council

Privately owned trees

All tree owners have a legal responsibility to ensure that trees under their control do not pose unreasonable risks to others. If you are concerned over the condition of a privately owned tree and its perceived risk, or branches or roots that are growing over your boundary you should contact the owner and make them aware.

Tree enforcement issues fall into two categories:

  • unauthorised works on, damage to or removal of trees that are protected by Tree Preservation Orders or situated within Conservation Areas and
  • breach of planning conditions relating to tree retention and protection.

Unauthorised work

The council has powers to prosecute anyone responsible for the wilful damage, destruction, and removal of any tree that is subject to a Tree Preservation Order,  located within a conservation area  or subject to a condition on a planning permission under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as Amended).  If you think someone is carrying out unauthorised works to a protected tree then please contact us. If the work is not authorised we will investigate and take any appropriate action.

Trees and planning permission

When planning permission has been granted for a development we may add conditions to the consent which protect the trees before, during and after work takes place. You should check with the planning officer dealing with your application if this is needed.

Permitted development and trees

Sometimes planning permission is not needed for a development, this is called permitted development. If a protected tree is near to this development you must also think about whether it will be affected by the work. If the answer is yes then you must make an application for this work: this includes any digging near to the roots. Tree roots stretch out at least as far as the tree's canopy and need to be taken into account.

Hedgerows and High Hedges


We have powers to protect important hedgerows. If you are proposing to remove a hedgerow, or part of a hedgerow, you should first check with the us to establish if you should submit a Hedgerow Removal Notice. Further guidance is available here.

High Hedges

Where a privately owned evergreen hedge in excess of 2m in height and made up of two or more evergreens, casts dense shade on a neighbouring property we have statutory powers to require appropriate action by the hedge owner. Further guidance is available here