THE local council deserves credit for recognising the need for tree planting to help with climate change.

Where it fails, however, is in not caring about the unnecessary felling of trees. It is illegal to fell any tree except young ones without official permission. Yet the council simply ignores this law by not enforcing it.

If one approaches a firm chopping down a mature tree, they simply laugh in your face.

Lord Clark of Windermere


Editor’s note: A South Lakeland District Council spokesman said in response.

We can assure Lord Clark that SLDC cares a great deal about the unnecessary felling of trees and we employ a full-time arboricultural officer to ensure that correct processes are followed and to take enforcement action where necessary.

The council is also committed to managing its trees for the benefit of South Lakeland residents and visitors to the area - and a pledge has been made to plant 2,000 additional trees in the district by 2025.

For information, it is not illegal to fell trees in most domestic circumstances, regardless of age, as they are exempt from the requirements for a Felling Licence.

For the felling of trees in wooded areas, or agricultural situations, you may require a Felling Licence from the Forestry Commission. If the tree is subject to Tree Protection Order (TPO) you would need to apply for permission from the local planning authority.

If the tree is in a Conservation Area, you also need to submit a prior notification to the local planning authority (SLDC or Lake District National Park for the South Lakeland area, or the Yorkshire Dales National Park for the eastern areas of the district).

Your local planning authority arboricultural officer and Forestry Commission woodland officer can assist you in determining if you need permission and from whom.

Any professional and responsible arboricultural contractor will know when they need to apply for permission to fell a tree and will obtain that permission before commencing works. Both the tree’s owner and contractor are liable to prosecution in the event of illegal felling, so it is in both parties’ interests to check if permission is required and make sure they have the permissions they need.

Local authorities will pursue breaches of the legislation, and we would always take appropriate enforcement action and prosecute where necessary.

If Lord Clark has any evidence of illegal felling then we would be more than happy to investigate if he can provide us with that information.