Information on trees and preservation

Getting help with your tree works application

When you are applying to the Council to carry out work on a protected tree, you will need to provide information to support your case. If not, the application may be delayed or rejected.  

Before you apply 

You may wish to discuss your plans with an arborist (tree surgeon) before contacting the Council.  

Tree surgery is dangerous and should only be attempted by trained, competent and appropriately insured arborists. Any work should comply with BS3898 tree work standards. 

All trees or hedges in a conservation area with a trunk diameter of 75mm or more when measured at 1.5m above the ground are protected. 

The owner of the tree is usually the owner of the land on which it grows. You will need to provide this address as part of the application process. If it straddles the boundary of two properties, you should give details of both addresses. 

You do not have to own the tree to apply for consent, but it is good practice to let the owner know what you are proposing. 

Application checklist 

To apply, you will need to use the Council’s Planning Portal. As part of the application process, you will need to attach a sketch plan. It must: 

  • be clear and simple 

  • identify the trees with their location marked up 

  • show site boundaries, other relevant features and adjoining properties 

  • show distances between trees and buildings 

  • include all nearby house numbers and road names 

  • have an arrow pointing to the direction of North 

Attaching photos with the plan can also help to identify the trees you want to work on. If you do attach photos, make sure it is clear which tree is shown. 

Each tree species should be identified with a numbering system that matches the sketch plan. 

A full and clear specification of the work you want to carry out should also be listed. Proposals to ‘cut back’, ‘trim’ or ‘prune’ a tree are too vague. Instead, use descriptions such as:  

  • crown thinning – the removal of some smaller outer branches. This should be specified as a percentage, usually no more than 30%  

  • crown lifting – the removal of lower branches. Specify a height above the ground in metres you wish to ‘lift’ the crown 

  • crown reduction – a more extensive pruning that changes the overall size and shape of the tree. The reduction should be measured in the height and spread of the tree after pruning rather than a percentage 

Additional evidence that may be needed 

The presence and impact of pests, diseases or fungi should be described in the application by an arboriculturist (tree specialist) or another appropriate expert. 

If there is evidence of subsidence, a report should be provided by a structural engineer or chartered surveyor. This may be supported by other analysis from root and soil experts. A subsidence report must include a detailed description of the damage, extent of any movement and all estimated costs. 

Evidence of other structural damage should be provided by an appropriate expert.