Protected trees

Further advice and trees queries

Find information on this page to help you get in touch with the right person for your trees query, along with common queries we receive.

Common tree queries

How close to my house should a tree be?

There are no fixed minimum recommended distances that you should plant trees of certain species from a building.

When choosing a tree/trees to plant, you should take into account the tree species, whether it is evergreen or deciduous, and how big it will be in height and crown spread when it reaches its mature size.

Overhanging trees

Under common law rights a neighbour can cut back any foliage that overhangs the boundary (this includes roots) to the boundary line or as far as it is possible to do without it having a detrimental effect on the trees health. You should make the tree/shrub owner aware of your intentions beforehand, however, this is not a requirement.

If the tree/trees are covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or is growing within a Conservation Area, the consent from the Council must first be obtained. There is no right for anyone to enter the tree owner's land to carry out these works.

Subsidence and trees

If you suspect that a tree may be causing subsidence the first step is to contact your insurance company and follow their advice. They may arrange for a specialist to investigate the potential causes of any subsidence.

Please be aware that if the tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order or if it is located within a Conservation Area you will still need the appropriate consent from the Council to carry out any works to the tree.

Further information can be found on the RHS website.

A neighbour's hedge or tree is affecting the use of my garden

The council can only consider applications for high hedge disputes if the hedge meets the required criteria to pursue the matter through the high hedge disputes procedure.

You have a common law right to prune back parts of a tree or hedge growing over the boundary into your property (subject to any legal restrictions being overcome first such as Tree Preservation Orders or Conservation Areas) but you cannot compel the owner of the trees or hedge to carry out this work or pay for it. As a general rule you have no legal right to a view which has been obscured by your neighbour’s trees.

Advice on protected trees

Our Trees Officer can give advice for the following trees:

  • Trees subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO)
  • Trees within a conservation area
  • Trees under a current planning condition related to trees and hedges where development has been permitted

To contact the Trees Officer, email

Advice on Council-owned trees and hedges

If you require information about trees and hedges that are managed by Horsham District Council or West Sussex County Council, visit our Council-owned trees page

Advice on all other trees

If your query does not fall within the above categories you should seek advice from an independent arboricultural consultant or tree surgeon or contractor, or our list of common queries below.

Tree work should only be undertaken by well-trained, competent, tree surgeons that hold adequate insurance.

Horsham District Council does not recommend any tree surgeons but we do recommend that they are a local Arboricultural Association approved tree surgeon/contractor. These can be sourced from the Arboricultural Association website.