Tree Preservation Orders and other protected trees
Trees can be protected under a TPO (Tree Preservation Order) or because they’re in a Conservation Area.
If a tree is protected, it's a criminal offence to do work to that tree without our permission. Work includes but isn’t limited to:
- cutting it down
- topping (removing large parts of the crown of the tree)
- lopping (removing large side branches)
- wilful damage or destruction
You don’t need our permission to remove deadwood from a protected tree.
Types of trees that can be protected
A TPO can apply to a single tree, a group of trees, an area or a woodland. For both TPOs and Conservation Areas, protected trees may include fruit trees and trees within a hedgerow.
Hedges in their own right would not be protected. Conservation area consent is not required for work to a hedge.
Bushes, shrubs, or other plants (like laurel, rhododendron, palm, elderberry, wisteria or buddleia) cannot be protected and should not be included in applications for work.
A tree is protected within a Conservation Area when it has grown to measure 75 millimetres in diameter at a height of 1.5 metres from ground level. Any tree of this size or larger is protected.
Tree protection gives the Council power to control what works are undertaken to a tree via the application process.
However, the legal responsibility for the tree remains with the owner. It is the owner’s duty to ensure that trees are maintained in the interests of health and safety at their own cost. We are unable to make a tree owner carry out any work because a tree is protected by a TPO or because it’s in a Conservation Area.
You can read more about Tree Preservation Orders and trees in conservation areas on GOV.UK.