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Apply for permission to work on a protected tree

Leicestershire residents, parish and district councils can apply to carry out work on trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order in their local area.

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You need to apply for permission before any works are carried out to a protected tree including minor pruning.

About the Tree Preservation Order (TPO)

Some trees are protected by Tree Preservation Orders or because they are in a conservation area, so you need to apply for permission before any works are carried out to a protected tree.

Tree Preservation Orders are made to protect trees that bring significant amenity benefit to the local area. A TPO makes it a criminal offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage, or destroy a tree protected by that order, or to cause/permit such actions without the authority’s permission and you may be liable to a fine of up to £20,000.

All types of trees, but not hedges, bushes or shrubs, can be protected, and a TPO can protect anything from a single tree to all trees within a defined area or woodland. Any species can be protected, but no species are automatically protected by a TPO.

In Leicestershire, both the County Council and district councils manage their own TPOs. The County Council makes new Orders on land where it has a planning interest such as mineral or waste sites, or where trees are on County Council owned land, and where the land crosses a boundary between two authorities.

We advise any work to trees is done by a qualified and insured tree worker. See a list of contractors approved by the Arboricultural Association.

Application process

If you wish to apply to carry out works to a tree, please first contact the planning department of your local district or borough council who will tell you if the tree is protected by a TPO or located in a conservation area.

Find your local council

If the tree is in a conservation area and is covered by TPO, then you can apply to carry out works to a tree and submit it to the Local Planning Authority.

After you apply

If the tree is covered by a Leicestershire County TPO, this will then be forwarded on to our Tree Officer by the Local Planning Authority. Once we receive and validate your application, we will register it and publish it on our planning portal and begin the 8-week process for a decision. Applicants will be informed if their application isn't valid. For all validated and registered applications, our Tree Officer will inspect the site to assess trees for condition and amenity value.

A decision by the Local Planning Authority must be reached within 8 weeks, unless there are extenuating circumstances such as investigation into subsidence claims, then the application can be extended, but all interested parties must be informed of this extension. You will receive an acknowledgement letter with the 8-week determination date by email (if email address is provided). A notification is sent to the district council requesting any comments within 21 days.

If the application is to remove a tree, then other interested parties such as neighbours, parish or district councils will be consulted. In this case, the 21 days consultation period commences once the application has been validated by the Tree Officer and notification letters have been issued.

If no comments are received within the 21-day consultation period, the application can be progressed. If comments are received, these are evaluated by our Tree Officer before a decision notice is issued. This may extend the decision date but interested parties will be informed.

Decision notices will be issued to all interested parties within the 8-week deadline. If the consent hasn't been issued within the 8-week period, you have the right to appeal to the Secretary of State.

The outcome will be either to:

Grant consent unconditionally - Works as specified in the application are granted consent to be carried out within 2 years of the date on the decision notice.

Grant consent subject to conditions - Consent is given subject to the specified notes on the decision notice document. These may be such conditions as, but not limited to, a change in the works specified in the application or to plant a new tree. Works to be carried out within two years of the date on the decision notice.

Refuse consent - Works are refused and mustn't be carried out. A reason must be stated by the Local Planning Authority. An appeal against a refused consent can be made to the Secretary of State. This appeal must be within 28 days of the decision notice.

Felling licence

Felling licences are administered by the Forestry Commission

You don't need a licence to fell trees in gardens. However, for trees outside of gardens, you may need to apply to the Forestry Commission for a felling licence, whether or not they are covered by a TPO, depending on the amount of timber to be removed from site in cubic meters.

Tree work terms and expressions

Basic tree terms and expressions used by the industry.

Main tree pruning definitions  Opens new window

Frequently asked questions

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