Tree conservation and tree works

Service update

Please submit planning applications and pre-application enquiries online rather than on paper if possible.

The Planning Authority also strongly encourages electronic payment of planning application fees.

Paper submissions and non-electronic payments will take much longer for the Planning Authority to register under our new working arrangements. The Planning Authority will likely write to you to request an agreement to extend the time period to determine the planning application. This is a precautionary measure and will not necessarily mean that there will be a delay.

We appreciate your assistance.

You need permission from us to undertake work such as felling or trimming on any protected trees.

Apply to carry out work to protected trees using the service. website button

It is an offence to cut down, lop, top, uproot or wilfully damage or destroy a protected tree without our permission. This can lead to a fine of up to £20,000.

How do I know if a tree is protected?

 Protected trees are:

  • any tree covered by a tree preservation order
  • any tree in a conservation area
  • trees protected by a condition on a current planning permission.

If the trees are protected by a condition on a planning permission, you may need to make a new planning application to vary the terms of the original permission.

If you have safety concerns about a tree, or would like a quote for tree work on your own property, contact Land and Countryside.

Exemptions for protected trees

If a tree is dead, dying or dangerous then it may not need permission for works to be carried out. In these circumstances:

  • you still have a duty to notify us in writing of any proposed works
  • you should give at least 5 days notice before work begins, or as soon as you can after the work has taken place
  • you must provide proof of the condition of the tree before the work begins.

Other trees

Apply for felling permission with Scottish Forestry if you intend to fell more than 5 cubic metres of trees

Bats and trees

When applying for work to trees you should always consider if the tree has any features that could support bats.  If so, advice needs to be sought from a qualified ecological consultant with knowledge of bats, to ensure any proposed works are done lawfully.

Find more detailed information on the Nature Scot website or in The Bat Conservation Trust's publication Bats and Trees (PDF).

Ash dieback

Ash dieback disease, or Chalara, has spread rapidly throughout the UK and is now firmly established in Midlothian. Although speed of decline varies, some trees will succumb to infection within a few growing seasons.

Our advice on ash dieback, including how report a tree of concern.

Information for land owners and managers, including householders:

The management of individual trees affected by ash dieback in Scotland, by Scottish Forestry

Privacy and copyright

Our privacy statement details how we store and process your information.

We will not publish sensitive information such as personal addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, or personal medical information. For further information about this, please read our redaction policy (PDF).

Plans and drawings submitted with your application are subject to copyright.