It is a good idea if you discuss your needs with a qualified tree surgeon before contacting the council. This will help you to identify best practice and:

  • Explore whether an application is needed
  • Advise on how best to present your proposals
  • Guide you through the application process and our tree protection policies.

Tree surgeons and consultants are also a good source of independent advice on tree-related matters and the Arboricultural Association is another valuable source of information.

It is important to ensure that any tree works are carried out by a qualified and competent tree surgeon in accordance with the relevant British Standard Specification (BS 3998:1989).

Before employing a tree surgeon, always ask to see his/her current certificate of insurance to ensure they are covered against third party claims and other risks. They should also hold a waste carriers license issued by the Environment Agency, which enables the company to take tree waste away legally.

Alternatively the council offers a chargeable pre-application advice service, this does not include a comprehensive health and safety inspection of the tree.

Any advice given by the council does not prejudice the final decision which may be reached on a subsequent application for works.

Please be aware that felling of trees which are not subject to a TPO may still require a Felling Licence from the Forestry Commission. Failure to fell under a proper licence is an offence subject to a penalty.

Applications for tree surgery or felling

Responsibility for maintaining trees covered by a Tree Preservation Order remains with the owners of those trees.

When owners or neighbours want to prune or fell a Tree Preservation Order tree they must apply in writing to Planning Development.  Forms are available below:

Content of application for works

Using the council’s application form you must include a plan showing exactly which trees you wish to work on - this need not be to scale.

You must also show exactly what sort of work you wish to carry out to each tree and the reasons why you wish to carry out the work. If possible, take a photograph of the tree and mark on the pruning to be carried out so it is clear what work is applied for.   

Applications for tree works relating to subsidence must be accompanied by detailed information.

We will write to confirm that we have received your application and will then consider it and let you know the decision within eight weeks (six weeks if your application is for tree works for a tree in a Conservation Area); a site visit is always made by an officer of the council before the decision is made.