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Carrying out work to a protected tree

Permission must be obtained first before carrying out any works to a tree or trees that are protected under a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

This allows important trees within the town and landscape to be retained and worked on to a good standard.

How to apply

Work to trees subject to a TPO - guidance notes [110KB]

There is no fee for submitting a tree works application. However, if an agent completes the form for you they may charge a small fee for their time.

A tree works application may be made by the tree owner, agent or neighbour. If an application made by a neighbour is successful then they would still require permission from the tree owner to cut any part that does not overhang their property.

Exemptions

There are exemptions in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Act, which allows a tree owner to carry out some works without consent. This applies to the removal of dead, dying or dangerous trees or parts of a tree. A common example would be the removal of dead wood (dead branches).

A tree owner is advised to request an inspection by the council's tree officer prior to carrying out any works to a protected tree that they think is dead, dying or dangerous giving at least 5 days' notice so that he/she can confirm the health of the tree.

In an emergency or at a weekend a telephone call or email to the council is advised as well as collecting and keeping evidence of the problem (photographs/faulted part of tree, etc). It is the tree owners' responsibility to provide proof if requested that the tree was indeed dead, dying or dangerous to the council's tree officer to prevent court action being taken.

Other exemptions include works by utility companies, trees on airports, defence installations or where work is required to carry out a full (not outline) planning consent.

Penalties

The courts have powers to fine anyone damaging a protected tree. Fines are unlimited for destroying a tree and up to £2,500 for unauthorised pruning. If financial gain is achieved by unauthorised work, such as increase in property value by obtaining a view for example, the courts have the power to impose a fine equal to any increase in the value of property. It is not acceptable for a defendant to plead that they were unaware that a tree was protected unless the council were the cause of such ignorance.

 

The removal of trees from within woodlands, forests and the wider countryside may also require a felling licence: Tree felling licences (Natural Resources Wales)