Biodiversity and trees
Protecting trees and biodiversityduring building projects
The degradation and destruction of wildlife habitat is a major cause of the decline of biodiversity. To tackle biodiversity loss effectively, existing habitats must be safeguarded through suitable protection during any redevelopment process.
The National, Regional and Local Biodiversity Action Plans identify habitats and species that are of particular importance for London and the borough, and should therefore be referred to by the developer/contractor when project planning. The developer/contractor should contact the Ecology Service for further specific guidance.
Trees are highly valued in the borough and are difficult to replace. Certain trees are specifically protected by Tree Preservation Orders, or may be associated with Planning Conservation Areas. In a wildlife area, no tree may be interfered with except with prior agreement. It is important that developers/contractors take steps to prevent building work affecting trees adversely, whether on site or nearby.
Trees that are to be retained through the course of building works may need protection. The above ground parts of trees are vulnerable to harm by the erection of scaffolding or by heavy vehicles. The roots are vulnerable to excavation for foundations and services, compaction of soil through heavy vehicle movement, and by contamination from toxic building materials. The provision of new trees on a development site is an integral part of the Council’s approach to considering planning applications and more often than not, if trees are to be removed the Council will seek replacement planting.
Legislation and best practice
- Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
- The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010
- Conservation (Natural Habitats &c) Regulations 1984
- Habitats and Species Directive (1994)
- The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000
- Protection of Badgers Act 1992
- The Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996
- Hedgerow Regulations 1997
- New Roads and Street Works Act 1991
- Town and Country Planning Act 1990
Best practice guidance
- British Standard document BS5837:2005 ‘Trees in relation to construction – Recommendations’.
- The Building Research Establishment ‘Pollution Control Guide’ for construction (and demolition) sites, in particular Part 1 - Pre-project planning and effective management and Part 3 - Haulage routes, vehicles and plant.
The above information contains links to external websites. We will do our best to maintain these links but apologise if any of them become broken. Please email [email protected] (this may seem an odd email address to use, given the subject matter, but it is correct) if you notice any that do not work and we will update them.
Advice for residents
If you would like to discuss biodiversity further or have concerns about a habitat that you think may be being unnecessarily disturbed, please email [email protected]. Alternatively, you may like to visit the Council's Ecology Centre located in the centre of Holland Park.
A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) gives a tree legal protection and makes it an offence to cut any part of the tree, including the roots, without having first obtained Council permission. Trees in Conservation Areas are also protected by the law. If you are concerned about any trees and you want to find out if there are the subject of a TPO or situated in a Conservation Area you can ring the planning help line on 020 7361 3012 or visit the Planning Information Desk at the Town Hall.
- search for tree planning decisions (since May 2004), or tree applications submitted in the last 6 months, with the online search form
- visit the Trees page in Planning and Conservation for further information on trees, including the Council's tree strategy or how to receive regular notifications of tree applications in your area
Last updated: 25 November 2022