Protected Trees

Tree Preservation Orders and Conservation Areas

You need our permission before you carry out any work if a tree:

  • has a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) on it
  • is in a Conservation Area.

Unauthorised pruning or felling protected trees is a criminal offence that may lead to prosecution. Make sure you know what restrictions are on trees you plan to work on and how to apply for permission.

Tree Preservation Orders

Use our TPO Register to find out if a tree is covered by a TPO.

To work on trees covered by a TPO, you must apply online using the Planning Portal. Alternatively, use the standard form to get our permission. You may find the guidance notes helpful.

We also offer a Fast Track TPO Application Service.

Once a decision has been made, you'll receive a notice to confirm whether or not consent has been granted. You are given details of any conditions you have to follow. If you're unhappy with our decision you can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

Conservation Areas

If a tree is not covered by a TPO but

  • is in a conservation area and 
  • its stem is more than 7.5cm in diameter, when measured at 1.5m above ground level

it is protected. 

If you want to work on one of these trees please give us six weeks notice in writing, using the standard form. We consider your application, and, if we do not make a new TPO to protect the trees by the end of the six-week period, your work can go ahead.

Work that doesn’t need consent

Some situations don't need formal permission for tree work. 

  • Felling a dead, dangerous tree or removing dead, dangerous limbs. As long as you only do what is necessary to make the tree safe.
  • Pruning of a neighbour’s tree to prevent damage to your property. Up to a metre clearance between your property and the nearest foliage is normally alright. You will however need the owner’s permission if you wish to cut back beyond your boundary.
  • Pruning to ensure that there is up to 2.3m clearance over a footpath or up to 5.2m over a road. This only applies to public footpaths and roads, not private property.
  • Pruning fruit trees in accordance with good horticultural practice.
  • Pruning felling which is necessary to carry out building work that has been approved under a planning application. The work must be directly related to the planning application and should ideally have been identified at application stage.

For a complete list of exceptions see the regulations section 14 for TPOs. Conservation Areas are covered in section 15.

You must still give us five days notice before you go ahead, even if the work doesn’t need permission.

If tree work is urgent for safety reasons please let us know about it as soon as possible.