The permission required for work to trees firstly depends on if the site is located within a conservation area, if the tree has a Tree Protection Order (TPO), and the condition of the tree.
Is the tree located in a conservation area?
To check if you are within a conservation area or if a tree has a TPO, you can visit your local authority website to view maps or contact your local authority directly if the information is not available.
If you wish to develop a site and retain the trees, you will be requested to complete a tree survey by a tree consultant who can identify the Root Protection Area (RPA) and will be able to advise mitigation measures to protect the trees during construction and ensure the new structure will not impact the tree.
If you wish to remove trees on a site which is not in a conservation area, or a designated area and do not contain a TPO, then you do not require permission.
Work to or removal of trees with a TPO or within a conservation area requires approval from the Local Authority. If you require the removal of a tree with a TPO you need a valid reason, e.g condition, disease, effect on other trees, low amenity value, affecting structures / buildings etc. If a tree with a TPO is removed, the Local Authority may request a replacement tree is planted either on the site, or elsewhere within the borough.
Work to trees within conservation areas / or with a TPO requires 6 weeks notice given to the Local Authority stating which trees are to be pruned / removed including the scale and description of works. During the 6 weeks notice period, the Local Authority will decide if a TPO will be made to protect the trees. If a decision is not make within 6 weeks, you are able to carry out the proposed works you have given notice for.
The following exceptions do not require permission from the council for work or removal (even if they are located within a conservation area):
- Trees which are dead or dangerous
- Dead branches can be pruned from live trees
- Any trees that have 75mm or less trunk diameter (measured 1.5m above ground level)
- Any trees that have 100mm or less trunk diameter (measured 1.5m above ground level) if the trees are to be removed to aid the growth of other trees.
It is advised to arrange a tree survey / arboricultural impact assessment to assess the condition of the trees to gain advice from a suitably competent tree consultant. The survey will be required during any planning submissions, notifications for tree works or removals and will be provided as evidence if required to confirm any trees which are being removed without permission meet the exception guidelines.