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This page aims to introduce the non -professional reader to some of the key legal issues surrounding tree surgery. Further information can be found at: Arboricultural Information Exchange.

Some trees are protected by law. This can be because they are in a Conservation Area or are protected by a Tree Preservation Order.

Unless a tree is very small (less than 7.5cm thick at 1.5m height), it is usually necessary to check whether it has protected status. Your local planning authority can make the check for you, usually with just a phone call. It is always best to check as the penalties are severe for law breakers - up to a £20000 fine for felling a protected tree!

If a tree has protected status, your local planning authority can give you the correct forms and guide you through the steps necessary to clear you to begin work. They will then inform you of their decision.

Put very simply: if a tree is in a Conservation Area, you must notify your local planning authority of your intention to carry out works on it. The local planning authority then have 6 weeks to decide whether to let you proceed or place a Tree Preservation Order on the tree.

If a tree has a Preservation Order on it, you must apply to your local planning authority to do any work on it. They may refuse you permission to carry out works, limit the works you may carry out or specify conditions for carrying out the works. A tree need not be in a conservation area to be subject to a preservation order, so it is always best to check.

The services of an arboricultural consultant can be very valuable in securing local authority approval for works to protected trees when a case is delicate. A consultant knows the system, they know your rights and they can find the evidence you need to make a case for the work you want to carry out.

tree felling legislation

This beautiful tree in fact has no protection, you could fell it at will.

tree felling law

This scrappy tree is in a conservation area. You could be fined up to £20,000 for felling it without giving proper notification!

Quick contact: Tel: 01249 701836/ Mobile: 07891 986663