Protecting and enhancing biodiversity on our campuses is not only beneficial for wildlife, but can significant have wellbeing benefits for everyone using these spaces. Despite its position in the heart of London, King’s is committed to enhancing the habitats on our campuses, halls of residence and sportsgrounds so that our staff, students, visitors and the wider community can enjoy and benefit from a university that is alive with the sound and sight of wildlife.
Landscapers, contractors and anyone else working our our sites should be aware that under Section 211 of the Town and Country Planning Act (1990), any tree in a conservation area is also protected even if a Tree Preservation Order is not in force. There is a requirement to notify the local planning authority six weeks before any planned works on trees in a conservation area.
Tree Preservation Orders
Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) protect trees that make a significant impact on their local surroundings. A TPO makes it an offence to cut down, lop, top, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree without permission from the local Council.
A TPO can apply to a single tree, a group of trees, an area or a woodland. It can include hedgerow trees and fruit trees but not bushes or shrubs. The trees do not necessarily have to be of a certain species, size or age.
The owner of the trees remains responsible for them, their condition, and any damage they may cause. The TPO ensures the retention of a tree considered to be contributing to local amenity and gives the Council power to prevent unnecessary works to it
Getting permission to work on a protected tree
In the majority of cases written permission is needed from the Council before undertaking any works to protected trees.
It may be helpful to consult a suitably qualified tree surgeon to clarify what works are required and whether permission is needed. The Arboricultural Association provides a list of tree surgeons that work in the area.
Applying for permission to work on a protected tree
You can check via a postcode search on the government website whether a tree is projects by a TPO. This will take you to a link to the local council website, where you can search records or make an application to do works on a tree.
Apply to work on a tree that's protected
Southwark Council maps
There are certain exemptions for work on protected trees if they are dead, dying or otherwise dangerous, but there is still a requirement to notify the local council prior to any works.
Carrying out works on a protected tree without permission may incur a fine of up to $20,000.
King's Tree Condition Survey (2012)
In 2012, the University commissioned a tree condition survey across its estate. this involved a visual assessment of trees to assess tree health, and to outline any proposed remedial works. A link to the survey results is available, and further detail on specific sites can be obtained by contacting the sustainability team by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The assessment did not include determining whether any TPOs covered the trees, so it is still necessary to check before undertaking any work to tress onsite, and obtain any necessary consent.
King's Biodiversity Action Plan
We have engaged the London Wildlife Trust to help create a Biodiversity Action Plan. This sets out the good practice and existing ecological value of our sites, as well as current initiatives including bird and bat boxes at Guy’s campus, and green roofs at the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute and the Western Education Centre at Denmark Hill.
The Biodiversity Action Planl looks at opportunities to improve biodiversity and green infrastructure under 4 broad themes:
- Building exteriors
- New capital developments
- Grounds and Open Space
- Sports grounds.