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Trees, forests and woodlands

Woodlands, small groups of trees and individual trees are a vital component of the Wiltshire landscape, providing visual beauty, habitats for important species, cover for gamebirds, an income for woodland owners and managers, sustainable timber, and a valuable recreational resource. The sustainable management of broadleaved, coniferous and mixed woodlands (forestry) is an important part of Wiltshire's rural economy.

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for forestry policy throughout Great Britain. We are consulted by the Forestry Commission on all Woodland Grant Scheme and Felling Licence applications in Wiltshire, and on new woodland planting proposals. We are also consulted, along with a wide range of stakeholders, to review forest design plans.

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Tree Preservation Orders

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) are legal documents that give protection to specified trees, groups of trees or woodlands of public amenity value. TPOs are made by local authorities; local authorities may make a TPO if it appears to be "expedient in the interests of amenity to make provision for the preservation of trees or woodlands in their area". TPOs can be made as a result of development or on receiving requests from members of the public.

Causing damage, pruning or felling a tree subject to a TPO is a criminal offence for which a person could be fined up to £20,000 if convicted in a magistrate’s court. The planting of replacement trees may also be required.

To find out more about TPOs, or to find out if a particular tree in Wiltshire is covered by a TPO, email developmentmanagement@wiltshire.gov.uk.

Trees within Conservation Areas

There are special rules for trees in Conservation Areas. If you wish to fell, lop or top or uproot trees within a Conservation Area, you must give the council six weeks notice in writing. It is an offence to carry out the work within that period without the consent of the council.

For all Tree Preservation Order and Conservation Area enquiries, please email developmentmanagement@wiltshire.gov.uk or call the Arboricultural Officer on 0300 4560114.

Ancient trees

Ancient (veteran) trees are as much a part of our heritage as the historic buildings they pre-date. They are also extremely valuable for the wildlife they support.

Wiltshire has a large ancient tree resource but information on ancient trees in Wiltshire is limited. There is a need for complete mapping of ancient trees in Wiltshire together with an assessment of their condition and actions for their long-term management.

Which trees does the council have a responsibility to maintain?

We are responsible for trees on our own land and on land managed by us. If you have a query about trees on council land, or adjacent to a highway, please report it.

Our tree stock is managed in line with our tree management policies.

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The Tree Warden Scheme is a national initiative involving local people in conserving and enhancing their local trees and woods. The scheme was founded by the Tree Council and, in Wiltshire, is coordinated by Wiltshire Council.

Tree wardens are volunteers, appointed by parish councils or other community organisations, who gather information about their local trees, get involved in local tree matters and encourage local practical projects that benefit trees and woods.

What do tree wardens do?

Tree wardens need not be tree experts, but need to be enthusiastic about promoting trees and woodlands. Activities include:

  • Planting and caring for trees
  • Setting up tree nurseries using seeds collected locally
  • Surveying trees and gathering information about them
  • Providing early warning of threats, diseases, decay or vandalism
  • Working with local groups and schools
  • Leading guided tree walks and giving talks to local groups

To find out more, email countryside@wiltshire.gov.uk.

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The Great Western Community Forest is one of England’s 12 community forests. The forest covers an area of 168 square miles, stretching from Royal Wootton Bassett to Faringdon, and the North Wessex Downs to the Thames.

The Great Western Community Forest is creating and maintaining a high quality environment for local people by diversifying land-use, revitalising derelict landscapes, enhancing biodiversity and providing new opportunities for leisure, recreation, cultural activity, education, healthy living and social and economic development.

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The New Forest National Park management plan was produced jointly by all the main organisations with interests and responsibilities in the national park. The final plan was the result of comprehensive public consultation. More details are included in the consultation statement.

Find out more about the New Forest National Park management plan.

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Last updated: 19 October 2016 | Last reviewed: 19 October 2016