Protected trees

Apply for works to a protected tree

The owner of a protected tree is responsible for the tree, its condition and any damage it may cause. All tree owners have a duty of care under the Occupiers’ Liability Act to ensure that the trees under their ownership are maintained to a safe and reasonable standard; this is to ensure visitors or trespassers on their land are safe.

You will need approval from the Local Planning Authority before starting to cut live growth for:

  • Any trees within a Conservation Area which have trunks (including any multi-stemmed trees) of 75mm in diameter (3 inches/7.5 centimetres) or greater at a height 1.5m above ground level or;
  • A tree which is protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).
Carrying out unauthorised works to trees that are under a Tree Preservation Order is a criminal offence.

Anyone is able to apply for works to a protected tree or a tree within a Conservation Area regardless of ownership. The applicant will usually be the owner of the tree or trees in question or an arboricultural contractor, or other person acting as the applicant’s agent.

How to apply

The application forms to apply for works to protected trees are available on the Trees and Hedges section of the Planning Portal.

Guidance can be found on completing the application form for tree works on the Planning Portal.

There is currently no charge for applying for permission to work on protected trees.

If there is more than one protected tree on your site that needs surgery works or felling, please fill in one application containing all the affected trees rather than individual applications for each tree. This will help us reduce the admin and officer time involved but also makes sure you receive a decision for all trees concerned simultaneously.

Apply for works on the Planning Portal

Dealing with dead or dangerous protected trees

Before carrying out work on a dangerous or dead protected tree where there is no immediate risk, you must send in a Five Day Notice telling the Council of the work you want to do. The burden of proof rests with the tree owner to prove that the tree is dead or dangerous.

When submitting a Five Day Notice you need to prove that the tree presents an imminent threat to safety, not an alleged threat. The work should be limited to what is needed to make the tree safe.

To submit a Five Day Notice please email with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • Telephone Number
  • Location of tree(s) and ownership information
  • Postcode
  • Describe why the works are an exception
  • Provide a detailed description of proposed works (these should be the minimum necessary to make it safe)
  • Sketch plan/Map showing the location of the trees
  • Supporting images clearly showing the tree(s)

The five day period will start once your submission has been acknowledged by the Council.

When a tree is felled using a five day notice, you have a legal requirement to replace the tree - unless the Council considers that it is not reasonable to do so.

Ash dieback

If a tree with Ash dieback is protected by a TPO you will need to submit an application or a 5 day notice depending on the structural condition of the tree to the Council.

Read information on Ash dieback on the Forestry Commission website.

How to appeal against a refusal of consent

Should the Council refuse consent to cut down or carry out work on a tree subject to an Order, an applicant can appeal to the Secretary of State.

These appeals are handled by the Planning Inspectorate on the Secretary of State’s behalf and not the Council. Appeal a decision about a tree preservation order on the Government website.