Trees are a vital part of the Moray landscape. They add colour and interest to the townscape, provide a sense of nature in the built environment and contribute greatly to the character of our towns and villages. They also provide wider benefits by harbouring wildlife, filtering dust, modifying wind and noise and by helping to absorb carbon dioxide which is one of the main greenhouse gases that causes global warming.
Below are a few Q & A you may want to look at before carrying out any work on a tree/s. If a tree is protected under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) 1997 Act there is a maximum £20,000 fine for contravention of this legislation.
Do I need permission before I cut down or prune trees?
Responsibility for the management of trees, including protected trees, rests with the owner of the land upon which they stand. However anyone may apply to carry out work to trees, provided they receive the landowners permission prior to undertaking the work. You will need permission from the Council if the tree is:
a) Protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO)
With few exceptions it is an offence to do any work on a tree covered by a TPO without the permission of the Council. TPO’s exist on individual or groups of trees across Moray which are of amenity value to the community as a whole.
b) Is within a Conservation Area
The Council should be given 6 weeks written/email notice of intended works on trees with a trunk diameter of more than 7.5cm (measured 1.5metres above ground level) in Conservation Areas. Please email email@example.com for queries regarding trees within a Conservation Area.
c) A condition of a planning consent
Conditions of Planning Permission may be used as a mean of retaining and/or under planting trees. To find out whether your tree is covered by a planning condition, please email your query including your address to firstname.lastname@example.org
There may also be a condition on the trees in your house deeds. If you would like to apply for tree works please fill in and send this form: APPLICATION FOR TREE WORKS Please see GUIDANCE NOTES for help with filling in this form.
If you feel trees are being illegally felled as they are within one of the above constraints, please report to Development Management, Enforcement Section, tel: 01343 563270 Email: email@example.com
Where trees subject to a TPO or standing in a Conservation Area must be removed, there will normally be a statutory requirement to plant replacement trees. In order to maintain Moray’s character, it is also important that the trees are in keeping with the area. These will normally include: Ash, Aspen, Alder, Blackthorn, Birch, Bird Cherry, Crab Apple, Elm, Gean, Hawthorn, Hazel, Holly, Juniper, Oak, Rowan, Scots Pine, Whitebeam, Willow.
Trees within your Council garden
If you have an enquiry regarding trees which are in your Council garden, please contact your Housing Officer
Trees on Council Land eg Parks, Cemeteries, Woodlands or Potentially Dangerous Roadside Trees
If you have an enquiry regarding trees which are dangerous or causing you a problem on Council owned land or are on the road side please see our Report It page
Overhanging Branches from Next Door
Where trees grow on or near boundaries, branches may overhang neighbouring property. A neighbour has common law rights to arrange for the cutting back of branches to the boundary in co-operation with the owner and in such a way as to maintain the health and balance of the tree, providing none of the trees were subject to a TPO or were in a Conservation Area (unless agreed otherwise, the wood should be returned). If your neighbour does not want to co-operate the Council cannot get involved and it would become a civil matter between you and your neighbour unless it is on Council owned land.
Other Tree Felling
Elsewhere (with the exception of small gardens and a few other situations) tree felling and thinning is governed by the Forestry Acts and permission for a Felling Licence should be sought from the Forestry Commission 01466 794542 firstname.lastname@example.org or https://forestry.gov.scot/support-regulations/felling-permissions
Although very small volumes of timber do not require a Felling Licence, one large tree could require a Felling Licence.
The High Hedges Act 2013 came into force on 1 April 2014. The act aims to provide a solution to the problem of high hedges, where neighbours have been unable to resolve the issue amicably. Please see the Moray Council High Hedges page and also the High Hedges Questions and Answers page.
Trees and Development Guidance
The Council has produced Trees and Development Supplementary Guidance - Guidance for developers and members of the public. The purpose of this guidance is to amplify Policy E4 in the Moray Local Development Plan 2015, regarding the protection of trees and to highlight the benefit of trees as an integral part of development design.
Further advice can be found by going to the Citizens Advice website
Planning & Development
The Moray Council
0300 123 4561