Before carrying out any works to trees it's vital to check if there are any restrictions. Unauthorised work to protected trees carries heavy penalties.

Types of restriction

There are two categories of protection:

Tree preservation order

  • we're legally obliged to preserve and protect trees and can make tree preservation orders (TPOs) on trees and woodlands to ensure their long-term future
  • no work to trees subject to a TPO can be carried out without our written consent
  • you must make an application for works to trees subject to a preservation order

Trees in a conservation area

  • all trees in conservation areas are protected, except trees with trunks less than 7.5cm in diameter (measured 1.5m above the ground)
  • you must make an application for works to trees in a conservation area
  • we have six weeks to consider the proposed works and respond. No work can be carried out during this time


Written consent should be obtained for any works to protected trees except for:

  • cutting down or cutting back a tree:
    • which is dead or dangerous, or
    • where there is an obligation under an Act of Parliament, or
    • at the request of certain government departments or other organisations specified in the order, or
    • which is directly in the way of development that is about to start for which detailed planning permission has been granted, or
    • to prevent or control a nuisance in the legal sense (check first with a solicitor)

You can check if a tree is protected by:

Apply to carry out works to trees

You can make your application online via the Planning Portal, or download the application for tree works. Please see information to help you.

Protected trees

We don't assume liability for the trees by making a TPO. The owner remains responsible.

You can check if work on protected trees has been authorised by using Public Access or calling customer services on 01423 500600.

To request a TPO, write to us stating:

  • the location of the trees
  • why you think they're worthy of preservation
  • why you think they're under threat

The trees will then be assessed and you'll be told of the outcome.