Applications to Undertake Tree Works
The Government introduced new forms (known as 1APP) from 1 October 2008. An application for consent to the cutting down, topping, lopping or uprooting of any tree subject to a Tree Preservation order can be made in writing to the Local Planning Authority (Surrey Heath Borough Council) using a form published by the Secretary of State for that purpose or can made electronically, on a form published electronically by the Secretary of State. All applications must include:
(a) the particulars specified in the form;
(b) be accompanied, whether electronically or otherwise, by:
If you experience any difficulties regarding the online 1APP form for Tree Works, please contact the Planning Portal via email (see above for the Planning Portal Website), or by telephone (Support Line) 0117 372 8200.
Tree Preservation Orders and other restrictions on tree works.
Trees may be protected under planning law in three ways; by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or because they are located within a conservation area or by a restrictive Planning Condition. This protection makes it an offence to carry out any work to a protected tree or wilfully damage or destroy a protected tree, without the planning authority's permission (Surrey Heath Borough Council). Consequently the Council's permission is required to carry out any works such as pruning, felling or works which disturbs and causes damage to the roots of a protected tree.
Tree Preservation Orders; to undertake work to a tree subject to Tree Preservation Order (TPO) it is necessary to obtain the consent of the Local Planning Authority which is Surrey Heath Borough Council. Applications to undertake work to a tree subject to a TPO must be - on line via the planning portal link below or - in writing using the downloadable form from the link below.
Trees within Conservation Areas, to undertake works to trees within a conservation area it is necessary to give the Local Planning Authority which is Surrey Heath Borough Council six weeks written notice of your intent. This only applies to trees with a stem over 75mm in diameter measured at 1.5 meters above ground level. Notification to undertake work to a tree within a conservation area must be - on line via the planning portal link below or - in writing using the downloadable form from the link below or - in a letter which gives similar information as required to complete the form.
Trees subject to a planning condition; to carry out works to a tree, which is the subject of a restriction imposed by a planning condition, it is necessary to obtain the consent of the Local Planning Authority, which is Surrey Heath Borough Council. To apply for a variation of the planning condition, it is mandatory to use the forms below (fee applies).
In addition to the restrictions imposed by planning law, Trees to be felled may require a felling licence. If you intend to fell any tree or trees that will amount to over 5 cubic metres of timber, you may require permission from the Forestry Authority - part of the Forestry commission. This doesn't apply to trees within gardens.
Trees Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Tree Preservation Order (TPO)?
A Tree Preservation Order is a legally enforceable constraint made by planning authorities to preserve important trees, groups of trees or woodlands that have a public amenity and are mostly made by the Council when trees are under threat. It is an offence to cut down, prune, or otherwise damage a tree, including the roots, which are protected by a TPO without the consent of the Council. Upon receipt of your completed form, including a site plan, the Council has a maximum of 56 days from formal registration in which to determine the application. Delays may occur when applications are unclear, especially if details of requested works are vague, a site plan is muddled or missing or if there is a lack of sufficient information. Prior to a decision being made, a Tree Officer will inspect the tree(s) and may seek further information from the applicant. The unauthorised lopping or felling of a tree is a serious criminal offence and can result in a fine of up to £20,000. TPOs of being cut down or damaged.
How does being in a conservation area effect trees?
A Conservation Area is an area of special architectural or historic interest. Making an area a conservation area is intended to protect and preserve the character or appearance of the designated area. Trees often make an important contribution to the appearance of Conservation Areas and so are given special protection. Six weeks written notification of intent is required before pruning or felling of any tree within a Conservation Area with a stem over 75mm in diameter (as measured at 1.5m above ground level). The Council has only three options when in receipt of notice to undertake work to a tree within a conservation area.
The penalties for not giving notice of felling or lopping of trees in Conservation Areas are the same as for carrying out unauthorised works to trees protected by TPO.
How do I report illegal work to protected trees?
Call the Council's Contact Centre 01276 707100 and a customer service adviser will take the details and pass them to the Arboricultural Officer or Enforcement Officer. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who is responsible for the maintenance of Trees subject to TPO?
The owner of a tree subject to TPO is responsible for its maintenance, as is the case if a tree is not subject to TPO. However before any work is undertaken to a tree subject to a TPO the consent of the local planning authority (Surrey Heath Borough Council) is required:
How do I find out who owns a tree?
The owner of the land on which a tree is rooted is the owner of that tree. If a tree is on the boundary of two properties the deeds to those properties should be referenced to establish the property boundaries. The tree is within the property which contains the majority of the stump. If the tree is on land of unknown ownership, it may be necessary to consult the Land Registry which is the government department that keeps records of land ownership, use this link to go to www.landreg.gov.uk Opens in a new window.
My neighbour's tree is overhanging my garden, can I prune it?
If the tree is subject to a TPO, in a conservation area or subject of a restrictive planning condition you will need to follow the procedures listed above to obtain the consent of the Council to prune any part of the tree, overhanging or not. Pruning of overhanging branches only, which would render the tree one sided or unbalanced, would not be agreed.
If the tree is not subject to any restrictions imposed by the council you have a Common Law right to prune overhanging branches back to the boundary only of your property but not beyond and may not enter adjacent land to carry out the work. It is always advisable to be polite and to inform your neighbour of your intention to prune their trees and to agree the method of disposal of the prunings which remain the property of the tree owner. Note: The tree owner is not obliged to pay for, or undertake the pruning of limbs overhanging a third party property.
I think my tree is dead/dangerous - can I remove it?
Any protected tree that is dead and /or assessed by a specialist to be imminently dangerous can be removed without the need to submit an application to gain consent of the Council. If a part of a tree poses an imminent danger i.e. split or hanging limb, that part which poses the danger may be pruned without an application to gain consent. However, the onus of proof that a tree was dead or imminently dangerous rests with the tree owner and the advice and guidance and written opinion of a qualified Arboricultural specialist is needed. It is often difficult to tell if a tree was dead or dangerous from the stump remaining after felling. If you plan to remove a tree without an application, and if safe to do so, it is advisable to give the Council five day's notice in writing and marked for the urgent attention of the Arboricultural Officer. This will give the officer an opportunity to make a site visit to check that the tree is dead or imminently dangerous and confirm that it can be removed without consent. If the Tree Officer has not visited the site prior to a trees removal it is a good idea to take photographs of the tree which clearly shows its condition. Note: Protected trees removed by way of exemption [dead] or five days notice may need to be replaced and the Council will issue a Tree Replacement Notice, which is a legally binding Condition.
How do I get a copy of a TPO?
A copy of a TPO can be obtained from The Land Charges Department of Surrey Heath Borough Council. The request for a copy of a TPO must be in writing and accompanied by a fee of £20.
Will the council inspect/prune my tree?
The council does not conduct inspections of trees for private residents or supply a tree pruning service. The Council has lists of specialist Arboricultural Contractors and professionally qualified Arboricultural Consultants who can assist you with advice and guidance and professional support.
Accordingly, the Council now operate a list of ContractorsFile Type: Adobe PDF document, File Size:184.77 Kb (27 seconds @ 56K) Opens in a new window which is updated regularly. They must provide a copy of their current Public Liability insurance certificate together with their H & S policy and a review date. The recommendation is to seek a minimum of three competitive quotes from the list and request a copy of their current Insurance Certificate should you need further reassurance.
The Council also operate a similar list of Arboricultural ConsultantsFile Type: Adobe PDF document, File Size:171.23 Kb (25 seconds @ 56K) Opens in a new window that operate within the Borough and have provided proof of their current Professional Indemnity Insurance..
Before any work is undertaken, check the tree is not subject to Tree Preservation Order (TPO), or in a Conservation Area or the tree is not subject to a restrictive Planning Condition.
How do I plant a tree?
Many specialist contractors offer a tree planting service and would be pleased to offer advice and guidance on trees suitable for the location.
The service can frequently trade source and plant a tree correctly for similar costs to purchase only from a retail nursery or garden centre.
How do I apply for Hedgerow removal?