Edinburgh has a significant number of protected trees with approximately 180 Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) in place (these include individual trees and groups of trees), and 50 conservation areas. Permission is required to do work to a tree protected by a TPO or a tree within a conservation area.
As a result, we receive large numbers of tree applications, with over 1000 applications submitted last year. To help us deal better with the volume and complexity of these cases we have made a number of improvements, including increasing resources, changing how we validate (check in) tree applications and updating our online information.
In terms of the team, we have secured some additional resources on a temporary basis which will help us manage the large number of tree applications we are receiving. We hope this will see continued improvement on the time we take to handle applications and reduce the backlog.
WHAT IS CHANGING?
All tree applications will now be validated by dedicated tree technicians who will review the content of submissions before allocating it to a tree officer.
This means that the tree officers will have all the information they require to assess the application. It will reduce the amount of time that is spent requesting further information so they can concentrate on assessing the applications and hopefully speed up the process.
Will be asking those who make applications for works to trees to:
- Make sure they apply for the right consent and tick the right box on the ePlanning form i.e. conservation area or TPO.
- Give the right address for where the tree is actually located (and not just the address of the client)
- Provide photos of the tree/s and its context
- Give a detailed description of the works based on BS3998:2010
Applications will no longer be validated unless they have all the information necessary for us to assess it. We will require the information to be submitted within 14 days, otherwise the application will be returned to the applicant or agent undetermined. Doing work to a protected tree without permission would be a criminal offence.
ONLINE GUIDANCE ON HOW TO APPLY FOR WORKS TO TREES
At the start of the year we renewed our Planning Trees webpages and updated our guidance on doing works to trees: www.edinburgh.gov.uk/privatelyownedtrees
We have also produced a ‘quick guide’ on applying for work to trees which sets out how to check for protected trees and has a summary of what is required as part of the ePlanning submission.
We will continue to review the new process and in due course we will be holding a customer forum for agents who make tree applications to get their feedback.
In the meantime, thank you for your patience as we put these changes in place.