Conservation Areas Advisory Committees (CAACs)
Management of trees in the borough's conservation areas
Borough Officers each responsible for different aspects of tree management
- Tree and Landscape Officer: Responsible for the administration of all protected trees, either those under a Tree Preservation Order or those within a Conservation Area. Also responsible for internal planning consultations with regards to trees and landscape.
Tree Officer (Street trees): Responsible for all street trees and the work schedule for RBK’s Contracted Arborists (Currently Advanced Tree Services ‐ ATS).Tree Officer (Council Housing): Responsible for council trees on council housing properties.
Green Spaces Officer: Responsible for parks and open spaces.
Trees are frequently of vital significance to the character of an area and their management is a complex matter. There are four different types of tree work application that a member of the public may submit to the Council. It is essential CAAC members understand the differences.
Type 1. Application for work to trees within a planning application
When a planning application is made within a Conservation Area, copies of such planning applications are received along with a letter of consultation by the affected CAAC and are discussed at their meetings. It should be noted carefully if the application will affect trees. If so look to see if this has been acknowledged on the initial application form. If it has not this needs to be pointed out in the CAAC response, but in any case, the omission should be picked up during the internal consultation.
When an application affects trees the Tree and Landscape Officer is automatically consulted. At this time he also has access to comments provided by the CAAC and will take them into account when responding to a consultation. In the rare situation that the Tree and Landscape Officer reviews an application prior to comments being submitted by the CAAC the Case Officer would always re‐consult the Tree and Landscape Officer to address any issues previously not considered.
Type 2. Application for work to a TPO tree (not part of a planning application)
These applications are legally required to include a 21 day period of public consultation to neighbouring addresses. Although these applications are mentioned in the weekly planning list of which the CAAC are recipients, such applications are not brought before the CAAC.
To be aware of such applications it is up to the area representative to track down any application using the internet as follows:‐
Go to the Planning Database
Select “Tree in Conservation Area” from the drop down box labelled “Application Type”. Then scroll down to the bottom of the page, select your ward from the drop down box and click on “search” below.
You are then shown a list of all applications for works to Conservation Area trees within your ward, any of which you may select for more information.
Applications shown should be relevant to your area and you will be able to see the completed application form etc. in the usual way. If the application is of concern the Area Representative can bring it to the attention of the CAAC and contact the Tree and Landscape Officer directly to voice any concerns.
Type 3. Notification for work to a tree within a Conservation Area
Such notifications have no legal period of public consultation and are not brought before the CAAC.
By law, the Council must receive 6 weeks prior notification of any planned work to trees within a Conservation Area. The Council then have two avenues by which to respond:
The Council may issue a Decision Notice stating that the Council have no objections to the proposed works.
If the works are deemed excessive and the tree(s) are worthy of retention by TPO, then the Council may protect the trees by TPO and then limit or refuse the works.
Type 4. Notification of a Dangerous Tree Notice (DTN)
Notification of works to, or for, the removal of trees due to death, disease or perceived danger, will, after verification, be approved without any public consultation and are not brought before the CAAC. Legally the Council is required to respond to such a notice within 5 working days.
In some instances works may be carried out to protected trees without application or notification, this happens when a statutory body such as the Council are required by law to carry out standardised works to trees such as the cutting back or lifting of a tree overgrowing a public right of way to predefined limits. This is known as a Statutory Obligation and the works are referred to as Statutory Works.
The requirement for a replacement tree under TPO regulations is 1 for 1. This is easily confused with the Borough’s own policy which requires the replacement of 2 for 1 when trees are removed as part of a planning application. The requirement for replacements may be dispensed with at the discretion of the Tree and Landscape Officer if he believes there to be good enough reason.