1) What are Exmoor National Park Authority’s responsibilities with regard to trees on Exmoor?

A.  Exmoor National Park Authority is responsible only for the trees under our ownership. We own and manage approximately 575 Hecatres of woodland as well as a number of car parks, public conveniences and properties within which trees are present. As with any landowner, we have a 'Duty of Care' requirement to make sure that any trees located on our land are periodically inspected and managed to within acceptable health and safety parameters.

As the Local Planning Authority ENPA has the power to make Tree Preservation Orders, TPOs.

2) Who is responsible for the management of trees on Exmoor?

A. The owner of the land on which the tree(s) are growing is solely responsible for the management of those trees. It is up to the landowner to ensure they meet their duty of care responsibilities regarding the safety of trees and organise regular inspections and associated tree work.

3) Who is responsible for trees on Public Rights Of Way?

A. Again, it is the responsibility of the landowner to maintain trees and hedges adjacent to or overhanging Public Rights of Way. However, in some situations the National Park Authority may undertake work to remove overhanging vegetation in cooperation with landowners to ensure that the public rights of way network remains in excellent condition.  If you are concerned about a tree near a Public Right of Way which is not in your ownership, please contact us.

4) Am I obliged to prune my trees and keep them tidy?

A. Tree owners are not obliged to carry out any work to their trees other than to meet their duty of care obligations under the Occupiers Liability Act.

5) What should I do if I think a tree on my land is dangerous?

A. You should arrange for it to be inspected by a suitably qualified arboricultural professional such as one approved by the Arboricultural Association. They will advise what action, if any needs to be taken. ENPA can not advise on the safety of trees on private property.

6) Who should I inform if I want to fell a tree?

A. If you wish to fell or carry out any work to a tree that is subject to a Tree Preservation Order or within a Conservation Area, you must contact Exmoor National Park Authority. If it is within a Site of Special Scientific Interest, SSSI, you must inform Natural England. If you wish to fell a number of trees you may need a felling licence which can be obtained from the Forestry Commission.

7) Can trees be felled/pruned at any time of year?

A. There is no time of the year when work to trees can not be carried out although there are times that are better than others. It is not ideal to carry out tree work at times of increased stress such as leaf burst and leaf fall as a tree's energy levels will be depleted.

It is also recommended that tree work is not carried out between the months of March and September when birds are nesting as the Wildlife and Countryside Act makes it illegal to disturb any nesting bird. Of course it is not always practical and sometimes tree work must be carried out during bird nesting season. It is the responsibility of the person carrying out the work to establish the presence of nesting birds or any protected species e.g. bats.

8) What should I do if I think someone is disturbing nesting birds/bats?

A. If you believe that someone is disturbing nesting birds or bats and therefore in contravention of the Wildlife and Countryside Act you should report it to the police. You may wish to also report it to the RSPB (click on the link to open the relevant page).

9) I am concerned about how someone is carrying out tree work. It doesn’t appear to be being carried out safely. Who should I contact?

A. If you are concerned about how someone is carrying out tree work you should contact the Health and Safety Executive, HSE. Click here to visit the HSE website.

10) How do I know if someone has permission to work on a tree protected by a TPO or in a Conservation Area?

A. Details of all TPO applications and Conservation Area notifications are available to view on the planning pages of this website. If you can not see an application relating to the tree then please contact Exmoor National Park Authority.