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Trees and hedges

Find information about, tree felling, Tree preservation orders, high hedges and trees in conservation areas.

Some trees are protected if covered by:

  • A Tree Protection Order (TPO);
  • or they are in a Conservation Area.

The Council can also get involved in disputes about high hedges.

Tree preservation orders (TPOs)

We can protect trees and woodland through the use of TPOs. This is under the Town and country planning act 1990 (as amended): Section 92.

A TPO prevents cutting down, uprooting, topping, lopping, wilful damage or destruction (including cutting roots) without our consent. It stops unnecessary felling and pruning and ensures where felling is permitted that replacement trees are planted.

They can cover a single tree, groups of trees or woodlands. They cannot preserve hedges, bushes or shrubs. Trees need not be exceptional or unusual specimens to be included.

Request a TPO

If you feel that certain trees or woodland should be protected by a TPO, Contact Planning Services.

How to find out if there is a TPO on your property

  • See our TPO and Conservation Areas map. This shows current orders and Conservation Areas where trees are protected that have:
    • A diameter of 7.5 centimetres;
    • and a height of 1.5 metres.

Note: Formal notification is required before undertaking works.

TPOs are registered as Local land charges. When buying a property, your solicitor will tell you if there is a TPO affecting the property.

If you need to fell or prune the tree(s)

You must get written consent from us to prune or fell tree(s) that are subject to a TPO.

The request must be made using the formal application form or by submitting online via the Planning Portal.

Note: The process involves putting the name and address of the applicant (visibly) on our online register of planning applications. For more about how we use your information, please read our planning applications - privacy notice.

Your application must include:

  • Details of the proposed works.
  • Why the works are being undertaken.
  • A location plan that shows the position of the trees.

For felling works that are proposed due to concerns over safety or structural damage, you must have:

  • Written evidence from an appropriate expert, as detailed on the application form.

Failure to submit the correct information will result in a delay in processing the application, until:

  • The correct information has been provided;
  • or return of the application.

Note: There is no charge for this request.

There are exemptions from requiring consent, such as, the tree is dead or dangerous. We recommend you get advice first, please: Contact Planning Services.

Felling of protected trees

Do you suspect that trees subject to a TPO have been felled? To check if permission exists, please see: Planning – Simple Search.

If protected trees have been felled without consent, please report it via our online form: Planning enforcement service request.

Important note: You can be prosecuted, if works have taken place that have not been authorised.

For more about this, please visit: Tree Preservation Orders: A Guide to the Law and Good Practice (GOV.UK).

Relevant legislation

This is not an exhaustive list and does not guarantee to cover all amending Orders.

Note: It is an offence to work on a protected tree without consent. If unauthorised work takes place, we can take legal action. This can lead to a fine of either £20,000 or twice the value of the tree, whichever is higher.

Felling licences

If you want to fell trees, in most cases you will need a 'felling licence'.

To apply for a licence and see the exceptions where a licence is not needed, visit: Forestry Commission felling licences.

We will be asked to comment on any application for a felling licence.

All applications are included in the Register of grant schemes and felling for four weeks, during the application.

High hedges

Before you contact us, you should try to resolve an issue you have with a neighbour.

We suggest that you keep a record of any contact with the neighbour.

If the issue cannot be resolved, you can raise a complaint with us if the hedge is:

  • Made up of a line of two or more trees;
  • and mainly evergreen (keeps its leaves all year round);
  • and at least two metres high.

For more details and advice, visit: High hedges (GOV.UK).

Making a formal complaint

For details of the cost to make a formal complaint, see: Fees and charges.

Trees in conservation areas

By Law, anyone who wants to cut down or carry out work on trees in conservation areas, must ask us. This should be done six weeks before the work is planned to be started.

Notification procedure

Notification must be made in writing, giving details of the nature of the work you wish to carry out. You must also provide a location plan, showing the approximate position of the tree(s) you wish to work on.

Note: There is no charge for this.

Exceptions

You do not need to tell us if you want to cut down or work on a tree that is:

  • Less than 7.5 centimetres in diameter (measured 1.5 metres above ground);
  • or ten centimetres if you are thinning to help the growth of other trees.

There is no need to follow the notification procedure, if:

  • A tree is dead, dying or dangerous;
  • and needs quick action for safety reasons.

For more on this or any advice, Contact Planning Services.

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