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Tree Preservation - FAQs

How can I check if a tree has a preservation order on it, is within a Conservation Area, or has planning conditions attached?

By visiting the 'My House (opens new window)' option and entering a postcode you will be able to find this information.

I want to cut down/prune a tree in my garden. Do I need permission?

Yes, you will need permission from the Local Planning Authority to cut live growth if 1) any trees within a Conservation Area which have girths/stems (including any multi-stemmed trees) of 75mm in diameter (3 inches/7.5 centimetres) or greater at 1.5m above ground level or 2) a tree which is protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) will require our priory approval (to apply please follow Planning application forms and guidance notes) or 3) Conditions have been attached to the original planning permission that require the consent of the Council before any tree works can be carried out. Details of Planning Applications are available to view on the Councils website Planning applications. However, if the property is rented, you may need additional permission from the Landlord which is a private matter between private parties. 

What is the purpose of a tree preservation order?

A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is part of Town and Country Planning Act and Tree Regulations (2012) in England. A TPO is made by a Local Planning Authority to protect specific trees or a particular area, group or woodland from deliberate damage and destruction (under perceived threat or risk of being felled or badly pruned) in the interests of amenity and enjoyment to the community, public at large - The trees need to be clearly visible from the public domain and not just of private benefit. An order prohibits the: - cutting down - topping - lopping - uprooting - wilful damage - wilful destruction.

What type of trees can be covered by an order?

All species types can be considered, including hedgerow trees, but not hedges, bushes or shrubs. The order can cover anything from a single tree to woodlands.

How do I apply to work on a protected tree?

To carry out pruning of live growth of any Tree Preservation Order Tree an application must be made at Tree preservation. A tree application would require the tree species type, specific details of the tree works to each tree, reasons for the work and a location plan showing where the tree(s) is located and this process takes up to 8 weeks. (Dead wooding a tree or removing damaged limbs (hangers) does not require formal consent.

How much does an application to work on protected trees cost or trees in Conservation Areas?

There is currently no charge for applying to work on protected trees or trees in Conservation Areas.

If I see work being carried out on a protected tree, how can I find out if the owner has permission?

Contact the Customer Service Centre Tel: 01243 534734 who keep a register of applications and consents, and will know about any authorised work.

There are trees that I think should be protected. What can I do?

Contact us by letter or email giving details of the trees, including a map if possible, and the reasons why you think the trees should be protected. The contact email address is;

Does the Council become responsible for looking after protected trees?

No. The owner remains responsible for the trees, their condition and any damage they may cause. But they must get our permission to carry out work on them, unless they are dead and/or dangerous. We may be able to offer appropriate help and advice. 

Tree preservation

How are trees on development sites affected?

Trees on development sites can be protected by tree preservation orders, by virtue of their location within a Conservation Area or by conditions attached to the planning permission, or a combination of these.

Can I carry out work on protected trees that are in the way of proposed development?

If the tree impedes the implementation of a permitted FULL planning permission (FUL), an additional prior approval is not required. (Information relating to felling trees will usually be part of the Arboricultural method statement held as part of the Planning Application file and Local Planning Authorities will consider the risk to protected trees when deciding Planning Applications). If only an outline permission (OUT) is present then a separate Application for Tree works will be required Planning application forms and guidance notes. Please note if the development does not require Planning Permission (i.e. erecting a garden shed) you must submit an Application for Tree Works in the usual way Planning application forms and guidance notes.

Can I stop planning permission being granted - or prevent approved development being carried out - by getting a tree preservation order imposed on a tree on the site?

No. A tree preservation order will not prevent planning permission being granted, but a local planning authority will consider the risk to protected trees when deciding planning applications. Once planning permission is granted, any felling may be carried out which is directly required to enable the development to go ahead.

What is the maximum height that my neighbour can grow trees in their garden?

In general, there is no specific limit to the height that a tree is allowed to grow, but if the trees form a vegetative screen that is limiting a neighbours usage/enjoyment then it could be a High Hedge issue which Planning Enforcement would potentially get involved with.

What do I do if my neighbour's tree is causing subsidence to my property?

The first step is to contact your insurance company and follow their advice. They may arrange for a specialist to investigate the potential causes of any subsidence. Please be aware that the tree may be protected by a Tree Preservation Order or because it is located within a Conservation Area. Remember you will still need consent from the District Council to carry out any works to a tree in this situation.

Will I have to plant new trees to replace any that are removed?

Evidently it is normally beneficial to plant new trees to replace any that have been removed; however you are only obliged to do so if there is a condition on your permission to carry out works to a protected tree, that states that you must plant a replacement tree. The condition will normally specify the type and size of tree and where it must be planted. If you remove a tree, which is protected because it is in a Conservation Area, the Council cannot condition a re-plant, unless the tree was removed under the "dead and/or becoming dangerous" exemption to the notification process.


Contact us 

For further information and advice email Alternatively, you can phone us on 01243 785166.

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