Background to Trees

Trees  and woodlands are an important part of East Lothian's towns and countryside.

Trees Managed by East Lothian Council

East Lothian Council's Tree Officer and Forestry Squad (Part of Amenity Services) are responsible for the management of trees in our parks, open spaces and woodland.

For advice on trees managed by East Lothian Council, contact the Landscape and Countryside Team (Amenity Services). (LINK)

Privately owned trees

Landowners are responsible for the care, maintenance and safety of all tree on their land.

East Lothian Council (ELC), as the Local Planning Authority (LPA), has statutory powers to protect trees that are of special amenity value under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.  

Anyone wishing to do work on protected trees, must notify or obtain the appropriate consent from the LPA. The penalties for carrying out or allowing unauthorised tree work can be severe.                                    

We have also produced a leaflet on trees (Trees and the Law) which is availale to view or download. 

For further advice, please contact us by email. 

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)

Legislation controls activities that could disturb nesting birds, bats and their roosts and other protected species. 

No one should fell, cut or lop trees, bushes, or hedges if this work could harm birds particularly during the nesting season (late February to mid-July). 

It is also a legal requirement to consult Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) before any tree work is considered that may affect bats and their roosts. 

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) are important areas designated by SNH. Specific operations within these sites require the consent of SNH and for most SSSIs within East Lothian this includes changes in tree and woodland management.

Forestry Commission Scotland

Tree felling outwith garden ground may require a licence from the Forestry Commission Scotland.

Grants for woodland planting of 1/4 of a hectare and more are also available from the Forestry Commission.

Contact the Forestry Commission Scotland local woodland officer on 01698 368550 for further information.