Trees on private property

  • We often get calls about neighbours' trees obstructing properties, we can't get involved in private matters like this, so we recommend that you try to resolve things amicably between yourselves.
  • Where the branches of a neighbour's tree overhang your property boundary, if the tree is not protected by a tree preservation order or in a conservation area, you may exercise your common law right to cut them back to the boundary (and no further). However, we recommend you use a registered tree surgeon to do this, as the tree may become unstable.
  • It is also worth noting that if your actions cause the death of the tree or any other harm to property, your neighbour may pursue you for damages. Common law also dictates that any cuttings you make should be offered back to the owner of the tree, but if they do not want them it is your responsibility to dispose of them. This does not mean that you can dump them over the fence into your neighbour's property.

Find the owner of a tree

The owner of a tree is not always obvious, especially when its trunk spreads over two properties. If you want to check who owns a tree, contact the Land Registry. on 0844 892 1111

Trees in conservation areas

  • Conservation areas are areas of special architectural or historic interest areas in which trees play an integral role.
  • Trees within a conservation area are protected
  • Trees covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) are automatically protected under that legislation.
  • If a tree isn't covered by a TPO, but is in a conservation area, you should complete an application for work to protected trees via the planning portal. This applies to any surgery or the removal of any tree with a trunk over 75mm in diameter when measured at 1.5 metres above ground level.
  • It is an offence to do work on a tree in a conservation area without consent.

Upon receiving your written notice, officers will visit the site and decide whether the Council has any objections to your planned works. If a TPO is not issued on the tree or we fail to inform you of our decision within six weeks then you can carry out your intended works.

Using a reputable tree surgeon

It is important that you only use a reputable tree surgeon to do works on your private trees. The Arboricultural Association provides a list of all reputable surgeons that work in the area.

Tree preservation guidance via

Last Modified: 10/10/2020 15:23:24


Telephone: 0208 547 5002