Protection of important trees
The council provides three main services to protect important trees:
Protected tree enquiries
We aim to let you know if a tree is protected within one working day of receiving your enquiry.
Reports of unauthorised work
- If you report work being undertaken to a protected tree, which is unauthorised, and if work is in progress when we receive the report, we will respond immediately.
- If the works have already been completed and this is within five working days of receiving the report, we aim to visit the site within two working days.
- Older reports will be followed up where there is likely to be sufficient evidence to enable the council to take legal action.
In all cases, we will let you know what action we are taking as a result of your call. We reserve the right not to investigate where a complainant is unwilling to give their name or where a long period of time has passed between the alleged offence taking place and the council being notified.
Requests to protect important trees
When we receive a tree preservation order request form, we will make an initial assessment of the risk to the tree and its importance. Based on this assessment, we will aim to make a site visit within five working days for high risk situations and 15 working days for lower risk situations. In all cases, we will write to you to advise you of our decision within 20 working days.
You can download a copy of a tree preservation order request form below.
Tree preservation order request form(PDF) [655 kb]
Carrying out work to protected trees
We recognise that even protected trees, need management. You will normally need to get the council’s consent for this to ensure that the work is appropriate and will not cause harm to the local environment.
For all routine tree work, the following timescales apply, which allows time for consultation and for a tree officer to visit the site:
- Trees subject to a preservation order in most cases, we will inform you of our decision within eight weeks of receiving a completed application form. In some exceptional cases, your application may have to go to a committee for a decision and may take an additional four weeks. If we need additional information from you in order to support your application and this cannot be obtained within the eight week period, we will give you the option of agreeing to a longer timescale rather than just refusing it due to the lack of information.
- Trees within conservation areas the procedures for trees are simpler than those relating to tree preservation orders and we will inform you of our decision within six weeks.
Application form for tree works
Work to council-owned trees
We aim to complete 90% of the type of works below within the timescales. During, or immediately after, gale force winds or other exceptional weather conditions such as very heavy snowfall, it is unlikely that we will be able to meet these targets. Emergency situations, where there is a risk to life and/or property, will take priority. We will:
- have contractors on site within two hours in emergency situations, for example responding to a fallen tree on the highway
- attend to a hanging branch or fallen tree in a high risk area within one working day
- attend to a fallen tree or large branch within a private garden within one working day
- carry out a site visit to respond to calls regarding low branches over a footway or road or obstructing a sight line within 14 days
- carry out a site visit to respond to calls regarding obscured street lamps or trees touching a house within 28 days
Council tree work applications
Applications to prune or remove council owned trees will be processed within eight weeks. In some cases we may need to consult with neighbouring residents, in which case the application process will take 12 weeks. If you are appealing against an officer decision, or if a councillor has asked the tree appeal panel to resolve the application, then the application will be considered at the first available appeal meeting. These occur every three months or when there are four appeals waiting to be heard - whichever is sooner.
Visit our council-owned trees webpage for more information, or you can report a problem by completing the report a tree problem form.