Protected Trees

Trees are protected if they are either the subject of a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or if they are in a Conservation Area. Tree protection does not prevent you working on your trees, but you do have to get consent from the Council first.

Damaging or working on a protected tree is a serious criminal offence. You could face a fine of as much as £20,000 for each tree and you could also be asked to replace it.

To find out if any trees are protected at a specific property please contact the Planning Admin team at the Council by email at planning@southbucks.gov.uk or by phone on 01895 837210 or 01895 837342.

Applying to work on trees

In order to apply to work on a protected tree or one in a Conservation Area, you will need to make an application to us.

You are advised to seek the advice of a tree specialist prior to submitting an application as they will be able to advise what works are likely to be acceptable. The Council cannot recommend anyone, but the Arboricultural Association keeps a register of tree consultants and contractors. 

For works to trees covered by a TPO it usually takes up to eight weeks from the receipt of a valid application until a decision is made. It takes six weeks for works to trees in a Conservation Area. Both applications are free of charge.

Trees may also be protected by conditions in planning permissions. To find out if this is the case, email planning@southbucks.gov.uk It may be that we will have to look into the history of the site in order to answer this question, so it is unlikely to be something that can be easily dealt with over the telephone.

If you are refused consent to work on your trees you can appeal to the  Planning Inspectorate

Is your tree dead or dangerous?

If a protected tree or a tree in a Conservation Area is dead or dangerous you can undertake works to the extent that they are necessary to make it safe. However, the onus of proof that the works are wholly necessary rests with you. If you wish to remove or lop such a tree, you would be advised to provide the Council with five days written notice of the proposed works along with photographs of the tree in question. We will then normally make a site visit to check that the tree is dead or dangerous and if this is the case, the work can then be done. There is a legal duty to plant a replacement tree under these circumstances unless the tree was within a woodland