Protecting trees and hedgerows

Trees and hedgerows make a vital contribution to our environment. They provide us with oxygen, help with pollution, reduce the sound of traffic, make our towns and villages more pleasant and attractive, and add value to our properties. They also provide essential habitats for wildlife and are a living link to the past.

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)

A TPO is an Order made by the local planning authority in order to protect specific trees, groups of trees or woodlands. TPO trees are usually mature, of good form and, most importantly, can be clearly seen from a public area.  However, other factors are also relevant such as rarity, size and form, contribution to the character of the area. View the criteria for issuing a TPO.

View our list of confirmed TPO's (including a copy of the relevant order and plan) to identify if there are any on your development site. Please note that whilst this is a definitive list of confirmed order, some trees might be located on land just outside of the named land. It is therefore important that prior to undertaking any work to a tree that you contact the Council. Additionally, you can view TPOs where the Council is currently considering confirmation (including copy of the provisional order and plan). If you require assistance regarding whether a tree is protected by TPO, please contact us.

Trees in a conservation area

Conservation areas are usually found in the most historic parts of our towns and villages. The buildings and structures there are usually of an historic nature and trees have a very important place within these special areas.

View further information relating to conservation areas in the district (including maps showing the location of each of our conservation areas).

In conservation areas you’ll often find very old trees, some as old as or even older than the buildings.  But it's not just the old trees that make a significant contribution.  Younger trees are trees of the future, and are sometimes protected to create green havens and ensure an area remains green in years to come, long after the veteran trees have gone.

The way the trees are protected in a conservation area is different to that of tree preservation orders. A conservation area is a clearly defined area within a settlement that usually encompasses many properties.  Any tree within this defined boundary becomes subject to the protection of the conservation area. 

Tree works

Apart from limited exceptions, prior to carrying out any work on a tree protected by TPO or within a conservation area, permission must be sought from the Local Authority.  To assist, please see our works to protected trees website.  Additionally, further guidance is provided from GOV.UK.

The Forestry Commission

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting sustainable management of woodland, and for increasing the value of trees and woodland to society and the environment. Tree felling is a legally controlled activity and you may require the need for a Felling License (exemptions apply) to fell trees outside of gardens which may not be protected by Tree Preservation Order (TPO) and also if there is a TPO and permission has been given by us as Local Authority. 

Felling trees without a licence, where one would have been required, is an offence.

Further information is available on the Forestry Commissions website:


Hedges create living boundaries for our gardens, providing colour and all year round interest. They provide a home for wildlife and can trap air pollution and they’re often seen as a defining character of our landscape.

Hedges can help with:

Pollution capture - plants with small rough or hairy leaves can trap dust and pollution particles. Good for pollution are yew, cotoneaster and western red cedar

Noise reduction- wide, tall and multi-layered hedges and borders are best for noise reduction. Good options include berberis, cherry laurel and holly with a shrub border planted in front  

Flood mitigation - plants with large leaf surface and evergreen canopies are associated with greater rainfall retention and reducing runoff. Helpful hedges include cotoneaster, forsythia, golden privet and hawthorne

Supporting wildlife - some hedges provide food for birds and nectar for insects, most provide shelter for birds. Good for wildlife include beech, yew, hawthorne, pyracantha and rosa rugosa.

Planting a hedge at home

Most hedges are formed from plants that naturally want to be trees, so face and top trimming is usually needed once or twice a year to keep them tidy. Hedges can last for many years if properly maintained making them reliable and cost effective. Most hedges benefit from an open sunny site.

Plant deciduous hedges from late October to March provided the ground is not too water logged or frozen. Evergreen hedges are best planted in October or early November or March.

Removal of hedgerows

Any owner of a hedge forming the boundary of agricultural land must make an application to us if they wish to remove it.

We’ll assess the importance of the hedge using criteria set out in the Hedgerows Regulations 1997. If the hedgerow is important in terms of its wildlife or historical value, then consent to remove it will not be granted. 

View guidance and details on how to apply to remove a hedgerow.

Managing hedgerows

You should avoid trimming hedgerows between 1 March and 31 July as this is the main nesting season for birds.  Exemptions apply if the hedgerow overhangs a public highway or public footpath, or if it obstructs the view of drivers.

Read more guidance on hedge trimming on the RSPB website.

Find out about managing hedgerows for wildlife and biodiversity from Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group.

Nuisance hedges

Cupressocyparis leylandii, to give it its proper name, is a widely used hedging plant, well known for its evergreen habitat and fast growth rate.

When clipped regularly in the growing season it can make a fine, neat and dense hedge that offers privacy and sound suppression in a very short time. However, if neglected for even a couple of years it can become difficult to DIY and control.

Being a hedging plant, it is most often planted along property boundaries. As a result, if the hedge is neglected, it is often neighbouring properties that suffer the most. In some extreme cases, people have been forced to suffer rows of leylandii of about 25m high. 

Residents who are seriously affected by high hedges on neighbouring properties can contact us and request an independent adjudication on the problem.

Find further information on how to contact us about a nuisance hedge.