Tree preservation in Surrey Heath

Surrey is the most wooded county in England. We love our trees in Surrey Heath, probably because we’ve got so many. Although, when a tree is felled there’s often a pained outcry about its loss, surprising as we’ve got so many.

Images of Curley Hill in Lightwater in WWII show it be entirely free of trees. Not so now. I continue to press for the removal of trees at the summit of Curley Hill to afford visitors uninterrupted views. Sadly it’s not currently possible to see Guildford from Curley Hill, although tree felling is planned to improve the view towards central London.

Surrey Heath covers almost 37 square miles, and its high density of tree cover is an identifying characteristic, which needs maintenance and protection. An individual tree or a woodland can be protected by a Tree Preservation Order[TPOs]. They may also be protected because they are located within a conservation area or by a restrictive Planning Condition.

A TPO is can be used to protect a tree or trees that give a pleasing aspect to a street scene, especially mature trees or trees of a distinctive appearance.

TPOs prohibit the cutting down, uprooting, topping, lopping, wilful destruction or wilful damage of protected trees without the consent of the local planning authority. At a recent scrutiny committee meeting these facts on TPO’s were presented,

The Borough Council’s TPOs comprise:

  • A total of 3.4 sq km area of area TPO designations, equating to 3.5% of the total land coverage in Surrey Heath. 
  • A total of 628 TPOs
  • 141 area designations were made prior to 1980, the earliest of these dating to 1965.

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