Trees, TPOs and Consent for Tree Works - Background to Trees

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

Privately owned trees

Landowners are responsible for the care, maintenance and safety of all trees 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 available to view or download. 

For further advice, please contact us by email at 

Trees managed by East Lothian Council

East Lothian Council's Tree Officer and Forestry Squad are responsible for the management of trees in our parks, open spaces and woodland - read more about trees and woodlands

Ash dieback disease

Ash dieback is a fungal disease affecting ash trees. It causes leaf loss and canopy decline and in some cases causes the trees to die. It is widespread across the UK including in East Lothian. Anyone with an ash tree on their land has a responsibility to ensure that risk posed by the tree is kept within appropriate limits.

Read more about ash dieback disease

View or download the Tree Council advice leaflet for tree owners


Legislation controls activities that could disturb nesting birds, bats and their roosts and other protected species.  Further information can be found on NatureScot's website.

No one should fell, cut or lop trees, bushes, or hedges if this work could harm birds particularly during the nesting season.  

It is also a legal requirement to consult NatureScot before any tree work is considered that may affect bats and their roosts. 

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

Scottish Forestry 

Tree felling outwith garden ground may require permission from Scottish Forestry - read more about this on their website: Scottish Forestry - felling permission

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

Contact Scottish Forestry on 0300 067 6006 or email:  for further information.