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Trees and planning permission

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Trees and planning permission

You can use our new tool to check if your project needs planning permission.

If you want to carry out any tree work, you may need to get planning consent first.

The information below is intended to help you:

  • work out whether planning consent is needed
  • tell you about what type of application you will need to submit
  • what supporting documents you will need to send with it.

Please note that the information below aims to be a starting guide. It should not be taken as binding. If you are in any doubt, contact planning advice and information to make sure you have fully understood the situation.

Do I need to apply for planning consent?

Tree Preservations Orders (TPO)

You must apply for consent to carry out work on a tree that is subject to a Tree Preservation Order.

Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is overridden if the tree must be felled to make way for a new development. That is, if the development has already been granted planning permission. We will have already considered the impact on, or potential loss of, any protected trees when assessing the planning application.

Trees in conservation areas

If a tree is not subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) but is in a conservation area, you must:

  • give us at least six weeks notice of any proposed works if the following applies:
    • the tree is more than 7.5cm in diameter, 10cm if the work is to help the growth of other trees,
    • the tree is more than 1.5m in height. 

If we object to your proposed works, we will write telling you that we intend to protect the tree. We will do this by serving a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) on it. If we have not replied within six weeks, you can carry out any works without our consent.

Emergency work on trees

The application process is waived for a conservation area tree or a TPO tree that is dead, dying or dangerous. However, you must give us five days notice that you intend to carry out any work.

You can carry out work without prior notice if the danger is immediate. An example is if the tree is in imminent danger of falling down and will cause damage or injury. If you intend to do this, you are strongly advised to collect evidence in the form of:

  • photographs
  • a tree surgeon's report
  • an independent witness statement.

We may need you to prove that the tree was dead, dying or dangerous at a later date.

Trees that obstruct public highways

If your trees overhang the pavement and obstruct pedestrians you may prune it to a clearance height of 2.5m. Any more than 2.5m needs consent.

Trees that overhang the pavement should have a minimum clearance height of 2.5m, or 5m above roads. Where the minimum clearance height is not met, we will send owners a notice telling them to prune their trees.

We may complete the work and charge you, if you have been served with a notice and do not comply.