Trees

Some trees are protected by legislation. In order to carry out certain works you will need to apply to the council for permission.

Tree Preservation Order

When the modern planning system was established under the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 local planning authorities retained their powers to protect trees and woodlands in the interests of amenity by making tree preservation orders. Over 70 years later tree preservation orders remain an important part of this system.

A tree preservation order (TPO) is an order made by a local planning authority (LPA, in this instance East Herts) in respect of trees or woodlands. The principal effect of a TPO is to prohibit the:

  1. Cutting down
  2. Uprooting
  3. Topping
  4. Lopping
  5. Wilful Damage
  6. Wilful destructionof trees without the LPA's consent.

The cutting of roots, although not expressly covered in (1) - (4) above, is potentially damaging and so in the Secretary of State's view, requires the authority's consent.

When the Local Planning Authority makes a provisional TPO we write to the owner and nearby properties enclosing a copy of the order. If anyone wants to support or object to the order before it is confirmed (made permanent) they should write to the council within 28 days to say why. The planning committee members will take these comments into account when deciding whether to confirm the order.

If you want to know if permission has been granted to carry out work on a protected tree please contact us. We keep a register of applications and decisions and this information is available to the public.

Trees in Conservation Areas

Trees in conservation areas which are already protected by a TPO are subject to the normal TPO controls. However, the Town and Country planning act also makes special provision for trees in conservation areas which are not the subject of a TPO.

Under section 211 anyone proposing to cut down or carry out work on a tree in a conservation area is required to give the LPA six weeks' notice (a "section 211 notice"). The purpose of this requirement is to give the LPA an opportunity to consider whether a TPO should be made in respect of the tree (or trees).

Exemptions

You do not have to give the LPA six weeks notice:

  1. For cutting down trees in accordance with a felling license granted by the Forestry Commission.
  2. For work which is exempt from the requirement to apply for consent under a TPO e.g. removing dead wood etc.
  3. For work carried out by, or on behalf of the LPA (i.e. the council as a whole and not just its' planning department)
  4. For work on a tree with a diameter not exceeding 75 millimetres (or 100 millimetres if cutting down trees to improve the growth of other trees, i.e. thinning operations.

Apply to carry out Tree works

Please ensure that you read the guidance documents below before completing.

To see if a tree falls within a TPO, please use our online mapping system (please note, this is a very large file and may take time to load)

If you would like to apply to carry out work to a tree that is protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or that is growing within a Conservation Area please use the following Application for Tree Work Form (PDF).  Please note, you need to download and save the PDF to your desktop.

Guidance on filling in the form can be found on the last page of the form including contact details if you are having issues or need a paper version. 

Alternatively you can apply for a Tree Works Form via the planning portal website.  For general advice on filling in the form, please see the New Guidance Notes for Tree Applications [183KB]

Vandalism or damage to trees with TPOs or in Conservation Areas

If you would like to report intentional damage or harm being caused to a tree that is protected by a TPO or in a conservation area, please report it via our contact us page

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