Protected trees

Trees may be protected under the Town and Country Planning Act by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

A TPO makes it an offence to wilfully damage or destroy a protected tree. If you wish to prune any living part of the tree, or to cut the tree down, you need the council's written permission. A TPO can protect a single tree, a group of trees, woodland or a defined area.

A new TPO takes provisional effect for a period of 6 months. During the first 28 days of this period any interested party can comment on the new order. All valid written submissions will be considered before confirming the TPO.

You can find a guide to tree preservation procedures on GOV.UK.

Check if a tree has a TPO

The council can make a TPO at any time. You are advised to check the status of a tree or woodland if you intend to undertake any work or before instructing a contractor. You can do this by searching our online map.

Search our TPO map

You can use our online form to:

  • request a copy of a TPO
  • request written confirmation that a tree is not protected

Make an enquiry about a protected tree

Working on a tree with a TPO

If the map shows a TPO is on your land (or next to your property) then you need to contact us before starting any work.

If the trees are protected, and you want to carry out maintenance work on trees in your garden or overhanging branches from your neighbour's garden, then you are required by law to apply to the council to get permission first.

Trees in conservation areas

If your property falls within a conservation area you are required by law to give us written notice of your intention to prune or remove any trees on your property or that of your neighbours.

If any stem on any tree in a conservation area is larger than 7.5 centimetres diameter when measured at 1.5 metres above ground level it is automatically protected and you must submit a tree work application form.

Apply to work on a tree

Before making an application to work on a tree, make sure you read the following guidance:

Make an online application

Download and make an offline application

If you have applied to work on a tree with a TPO, we have 8 weeks from the date of receipt to process and respond.

If you have applied to work on a tree in a conservation area, we have 6 weeks from the date of receipt to process and respond.

We can either not object to your proposal or make a TPO.

View tree work applications

You can view tree work applications on our online planning register.

Access the online planning register

Report damage or unauthorised work to a protected tree

If you suspect a protected tree has been damaged or pruned without permission, please report it to Customer Services:

Request to protect trees

The council has a duty to consider protecting trees which:

  • offer significant amenity or heritage value
  • may be at risk from development

If you are aware of any trees that meet either of these criteria, please email the following details to

  • species (if known)
  • reason for protection (how the tree is under threat)
  • location (description or map)
  • photos

The Tree Team will then assess the trees and determine whether they will be protected.

If the matter is urgent and trees are under imminent threat, please call Customer Services on 01344 352000.

Permitted development

You can sometimes perform certain work without getting formal planning permission from the council. This is called permitted development.

Certain types of works under permitted development can have a significant impact on trees. If they are the subject of a TPO, the legislation protecting them overrides Permitted Development Rights.

In simple terms this means that you must get the council’s written consent before carrying out any works which involve:

  • removal of the tree
  • any damage to the canopy, trunk or root system of the tree

Such works (temporary or permanent) may include:

  • construction of hard surfaces of any description such as parking bays, driveways, footpaths, patios, paths, or replacement of soft landscaping around trees with other surfacing like artificial grass
  • construction of foundations or bases for garden structures, summer houses, sheds or retaining walls
  • raising or lowering of ground levels around trees, including adding soil or other materials, topsoil stripping, excavation or alterations to existing ground conditions of any other description
  • installing drainage or below ground cables and ducting
  • installing ponds
  • construction of building extensions or conservatories classed as permitted development
  • storage or parking or vehicles, heavy plant machinery on unmade ground around a tree
  • storage or disposal of large volumes of rubble, surplus soil or heavy materials

Contact information

Parks and Countryside

Make an enquiry