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.
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.
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:
- 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.