Tree and Woodland Protection

Trees and woodlands contribute to local amenity and the quality of the natural and historic environment. Tree preservation orders protect important trees and woodland in West Lothian from felling, and from works which might damage them.

Trees can be protected in a number of ways:

  • Tree Preservation Order (TPO)
  • By virtue of their location within a Conservation Area 
  • By conditions attached to a planning approval

Tree Preservation Order (TPO)

A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) protects important trees, groups of trees or woodlands which have particular amenity value, which make a significant contribution to the landscape or townscape or are of cultural or historic significance and safeguards them from felling or from other works which might damage them. While a TPO is not intended to prevent necessary remedial work being carried out it is an offence to carry out work to such trees without first obtaining the consent of the council.

The council can make, manage and enforce Tree Preservation Orders under powers set out in section 160 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 and in the Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation Order and Trees in Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Regulations 2010. Scottish Government Circular 1/2011 Tree Preservation Orders provides detailed guidance on the process.

A TPO is a legal order which arises through the development planning system.

You can check if a tree or property is the subject of a Tree Preservation Order. Please email the Development Planning & Environment team at dpgeneral@westlothian.gov.uk with the topic "TPO Enquiry" in the subject line, remembering to provide details of where the tree is located and your own contact details (i.e., name / email address / postal address and daytime telephone number). 

 

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) currently in force

Tree protection afforded by virtue of location in a Conservation Area

Trees within a Conservation Area are protected by law unless an exemption applies. The council requires to be made aware of any proposed works not less than six weeks before it is intended to carry them out. If you are unsure whether a tree is within a Conservation Area please check the Conservation Area section of this website for the relevant town or village. Alternatively, please email dpgeneral@westlothian.gov.uk with the topic "Trees in Conservation Area Enquiry" in the subject line, remembering to provide details of where the tree is located and your contact details (i.e., name /email address / postal address and daytime telephone number). 

Tree protection afforded by conditions of a planning permission

When proposals are being considered for the grant of planning permission, consideration is automatically afforded to the impact of works on any existing trees on or within close proximity to the development site. The council may impose conditions which require the retention and/or protection of trees or which require changes to be made to the layout of a development to address any potential conflict.  You can view the conditions of a planning permission if you know the application number or the street address by using the planning portal and typing the relevant details. Alternatively, email Development Management with the topic "Trees Protected by Planning Condition?" in the subject line, remembering to provide details of where the tree is located and your contact details (i.e., name / email address / postal address and daytime telephone number). 

If you have any questions relating to tree protection generally, or just want to provide feedback and comments on our service, please email the Development Planning & Environment team at dpgeneral@westlothian.gov.uk. You can also write to us at Development Planning & Environment, West Lothian Civic Centre, Howden South Road, Livingston, West Lothian EH54 6FF or phone 01506 280000.

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