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Protected trees

Get permission to work on a protected tree

You’ll probably need to get permission or notify us if you’re planning to work on a protected tree. The type of permission you need depends on how the tree is protected.

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)

If a tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), you’ll need to apply for consent on the Planning Portal. Once we’ve validated your application, we aim to respond within 8 weeks.

Conservation Area

If a tree is within a Conservation Area, you’ll need to notify us of work you want to do on the Planning Portal.

You’ll hear from us within 6 weeks. We will either state that we have no objection to the work, or we may serve a TPO on the tree to control the work.

If we don’t respond by the end of 6 weeks from the date of validation, this is deemed as consent and you can proceed with the work.

Ask a tree surgeon to apply for you

Anyone can submit an application, but we would recommend that you ask an arborist (tree surgeon) to submit it on your behalf. They are familiar with the process of applying, the language used to describe the work, and what supporting information needs to be submitted. 

The majority of arborists provide this as a free service to their customers.

You can find a list of professionally qualified and insured arborists on the Arboricultural Association website.

You’ll need to provide

An application should include the following supporting information:

  1. A sketch map of the tree(s) location - this does not have to be to scale but should demonstrate the location of trees in relation to boundaries and relevant features such as buildings or roads.
  2. The map should also label the trees affected. You should use “T.1” for trees or “G.1” for a group of trees, and so on.
  3. The labelling of the map should then correspond with a list of the trees providing a clear description of works against each one. For example:
    T.1 Sycamore - 2m Holistic crown reduction to suitable growth points & deadwood.
    T.2 Beech - 20% Crown thin, crown lift to 5m from ground level & remove ivy.
    G.3 Birch - Deadwood and remove ivy only.
  4. Clear photos of each tree you wish to work on - if possible, show the whole tree in one image and include closer photos of anything you want to draw the Tree Officer’s attention to.

We’ll check your application first to make sure we have all the information we need in a process called validation. If there is information missing we’ll contact you to ask you to provide it.

When you don’t need permission

If a protected tree is dead, dying, dangerous or fallen, you don’t need permission to carry out work to make it safe.

However, you should submit an application via the planning portal to tell us that you’re planning to do the work. You must do this at least 5 days before you do the work and include photos that show the condition of the tree.

If you don’t notify us, and you have no evidence of the condition of the tree, we may seek legal action against you or any party involved in the removal. We may also require you to plant a new tree at your expense.

You don’t need permission from us if you are:

  • pruning fruit trees in a commercial orchard
  • removing a tree where permission has already been granted within a detailed planning permission
  • legally exempt as a Statutory Body or under an Act of Parliament

Last Modified: 30/03/2023 16:08:10