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Tree protection legislation set to come into force with routine management exemptions

20 September 2023

If approved by the States Assembly, legislation providing greater protection for trees in Jersey will come into effect on 24 October 2023, with more permitted activity than initially proposed.

The definition of ‘routine management’ has been revised since the previously proposed policy and consultation, allowing more routine work to happen on trees without the need for planning permission or notification. This follows feedback to the Minister for the Environment, Deputy Jonathan Renouf, from Islanders and those working in the industry.

In 2022, the States Assembly approved plans to better protect trees by bringing works to them under the definition of “development” within Jersey’s Planning and Building Law. This means operations to or on trees will require permission unless they are considered ‘routine management’ or allowed under a set of other clear exceptions. However, the detailed implementation of the legislation was left to the Minister to define.

Significant revisions to the legislation, since the previously proposed draft, include:

  • the size under which works to trees are not classed as development will be applied to trees that are of 25cm or less in diameter at 1.5m above the ground.
  • allowing works to domestic and commercial fruit trees.
  • greater detail in the specification of works that are allowed as part of ‘routine management’.

‘Routine management’ will be published in separate guidance alongside the new Order. This guidance follows best practice for tree management in the UK. Examples of routine management include:

  • Crown thinning that removes up to (but not more than) 30% of a tree’s crown
  • Crown lifting provided that the remaining crown makes up at least two thirds of the height of the tree
  • Re-pollarding of trees that have been pollarded historically
  • Cutting, trimming and shaping of hedgerows

Diseased trees, those that pose a danger to the public, or are damaging buildings, are among a series of exemptions and do not require permission. Dead branches can still be removed from trees. Works on trees that are specifically required under other laws – including branchage – are also exempt.

To simplify the application process an online notification system has been developed which will allow people to notify Planning of the intended works and to receive a decision on whether they can continue with “deemed consent”, or whether a full application is required.

The findings of the consultation, which ran between March and May this year, has now been published and can be viewed at: Tree protection process (

Deputy Jonathan Renouf said: “I’m pleased to introduce this legislation in Jersey which will ensure better protection for our trees. There are a lot of environmental reasons as to why this is so important, such as the impact trees have on air quality, urban shade and biodiversity, as well as other factors such their landscape value.

“I’d like to reassure all of those who were particularly concerned about the legislation during the consultation period, that it has since been revised. For example, the threshold for work on trees that is exempt has increased from 8cm under the previous proposed policy to 25cm under the new policy. This is why we have consultations, and I’m pleased to have been able to respond to the concerns that were raised earlier in the year.

“I’d like to thank all those who took the time to review the proposals and provided essential feedback during the extended consultation period - this feedback has helped inform the proposed legislation.”

The policy also includes proposals for Woodland Management Plans (WMP), that will offer an alternative method of managing larger areas of woodland. Guidelines and policies are currently being developed for landowners with larger areas of woodland. Works within approved WMP will be considered permitted development and therefore will not require a notification to be submitted prior to activity.

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