Given the manner in which the landscape of the county borough has been exploited you would be forgiven for thinking it was a landscape devoid of trees; however this is not altogether the case. While large areas of the county borough still bear the scars of our industrial past; there remain pockets of undisturbed landscapes, areas of naturally regenerated tree growth, forestry, parks, gardens and public open spaces that contain a wide variety of trees.
The value we place on trees is often only realised when they are under threat or are lost altogether. The local planning authority has powers to make Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
The Authority may make a TPO if it appears to it to be; ‘expedient in the interests of amenity to make provision for the preservation of trees or woodlands in the area’.
The County Borough contains 67 No Tree Preservation Orders. The first TPO was made in 1946 with the most recent being made in 2008.
Trees in built-up areas contribute significantly to the appearance and value placed on areas by residents and visitors. The importance of trees in Conservation Areas is recognised in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 which makes special provision for trees in Conservation Areas which are not already protected by a Tree Preservation Order. Anyone wishing to cut back a tree in a conservation area must first notify the Council's Town Planning Division and allow up to 6 weeks for the Council to consider the value of that tree in respect of tree health and its contribution to visual amenity. Works can only take place once a 'No Objection' letter has been received from Council or the 6 week period has expired with no response from the Council.