Protected trees

The Town & Country Planning Act (1990, and as amended) gives legal protection to trees. Under this law, trees and shrubs are protected within Conservation Areas and/or under a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). This is irrespective of a tree's species or age.

Failure to follow the correct procedures may result in prosecution and a significant fine if it is considered that a tree (or trees) were pruned excessively or removed inappropriately without planning consent/approval.

This protection applies to all parts of the tree above ground and below ground equally.

It is an offence to cut down, uproot, wilfully damage or destroy a protected tree

A reputable tree surgery contractor or independent tree consultant should advise you on what works may be appropriate and provide you with a quote if necessary. We recommend you seek a quote from at least two firms.

A list of approved contractors can be found on the Arboriculture Association website.

Tree Preservation Order (TPO)

A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is an order made by us, giving legal protection to trees or woodland. A TPO prevents cutting down, uprooting, topping, lopping, wilful damage or destruction of trees (including cutting roots) without our permission.

It does not mean that a tree may never be pruned or removed – if those actions are necessary and reasonable they will be approved. The owner of a tree protected by a TPO must get approval before going ahead with works to that tree. Visit our Tree preservation orders section for details.

Trees in conservation area

All trees and shrubs in a CA with a stem diameter measuring over 75mm (at chest height) are protected. It does not matter how tall the tree is, or what species or age it is.

If you wish to carry out works on a tree within a conversation area you will need to apply for consent.

Guide to using our interactive map (PDF)