Carrying out works on protected trees

What you should do if you want undertake work on trees that are in a conservation area or are covered by a tree preservation order.

When you need to send an application

You must complete a tree works form if the tree or trees are:

  • covered by a tree preservation order (TPO)
  • within a conservation area and not exempt because of their size
  • protected by a planning consent condition

You must also apply if you need permission in writing because of a specific planning consent condition.

If the trees are protected by a planning consent condition, you might need to submit a new planning application or contact Planning Services or a Planning Officer for further information by calling 01786 233660


It's an offence to cut down, lop, top, uproot or wilfully damage or destroy a protected tree without council permission. If you do this, you might get a fine of up to £20,000.

Tree report

We encourage you to get a tree survey report and submit this with photos along with your application. You can get this from a qualified arboricultural consultant or tree surgeon.

How to send your application

Follow these steps to send an application.

  1. Download our tree works form.
  2. Complete the form.
  3. Email your completed form to, or post it to the address on the form. If you can, include a tree report.

Submit your Conservation Area notification form at least 6 weeks before you plan to start tree works or allow 8 weeks for a TPO tree works application.

Emergency work to protected trees

You might not need to get permission if a tree is:

  • dead
  • dying
  • in a dangerous condition

However, if this is the case:

  • you still need to send the council photos and a written notice about your proposed works
  • you should give us at least 5 days' notice before any work commences — or, if it's emergency work, notify us as soon as possible afterwards

Also, before you carry out work, a suitably qualified arboricultural consultant or tree surgeon must provide proof of the tree's condition.

If you fell any trees, you'll normally need to replant them.

When trees in conservation areas are exempt

You do not need to complete an application in cases where:

  • a healthy tree measures less than 7.5cm in diameter at a height of 1.5m above the ground
  • you're pruning a tree that's being used to produce fruit

Works to shrubs and hedges are also exempt. This includes their removal.

Understanding planning conditions

If your property was built later than the mid-1970s, the trees next to it may also be protected by planning conditions. These might state that you need local authority consent to carry out any works on the trees. If such a condition applies, you must apply to undertake the work.

If you're not sure whether these conditions apply to your property, contact our Planning team