Works to protected trees

Tree works

We do not provide specialist advice regarding tree works. If you intend to undertake works to trees with a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or in a conservation area, you must provide as much information as possible with your submission.  Please refer to our Local Validation Checklist for further information on what is required to support your submission.

It is your responsibility to seek independent advice from a tree specialist, including reasons and details of proposed works, all of which you’ll need to send as part of your submission.  Please see below.

Further guidance and details on how to submit your tree work application are available on the Planning Portal website.

If you prefer to use paper forms to submit your application offline, please visit the Planning Portals website for further details, including the Planning Portal Paper Form Chooser  which enables you to download forms.

Advice on hiring tree contractors

Tree work needs to be undertaken safely and in the best interest of the tree. Pruning trees at any height or using dangerous tools are jobs where you should only consider using a skilled tree surgeon or arboriculturalist.

One of the best place to find a suitable contractor is in the Arboricultural Association's register of approved contractors or telephone 01242 522152. Another recognised body is the International Society of Arboriculture.

Top tips for hiring a professional to work on your trees:

  • reputation is a good indicator - good and professional firms pride themselves on their reputation by word of mouth and work very hard to maintain it
  • avoid firms that promote 'Topping & Lopping' in their advertisements, as these are very outmoded terms and may reflect a lack of knowledge of modern arboricultural techniques
  • look for firms that work to British Standard 3998:2010 Recommendations for Tree Work - this British Standard ensures precise and sound pruning techniques that promote safe and healthy pruning
  • look for firms that have had their employees NPTC (National Proficiency Tests Council) assessed - this means their skill has been certified by the body that assesses competence in tree works
  • make sure that the firm is suitably insured to work on your property- a minimum of £1million pound public & products liability cover is adequate although £5 million is ideal, in addition to employers liability insurance
  • ask lots of questions - you’ll get a good idea of how well a contractor knows his subject by how willing he is to give sound answers for your queries
  • good firms will always check if the tree they are working on is protected by a tree preservation order or if it is protected by a conservation area - are they prepared to submit an application to us on your behalf as part of their business service to you?
  • ensure that the company you use will dispose of the debris legally and have the appropriate ‘waste transfer licence’ - you may be faced with a heavy fine if fly-tipped material is traced back to you

If contractors are working on a boundary tree, you’ll need to notify your neighbour of the works as the entry of the operatives, even into their airspace will technically constitute a trespass.

Be sure that if you have a contractor working on a protected tree, they have the appropriate permission in writing if they have been your agents in the application process. Ask them to provide you with a copy of the council’s letter for your records.