Tree Information and Preservation Orders

To apply for consent to cut down, top, lop or uproot any tree subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) apply online or download a form:

If you experience any difficulties regarding the online form, please contact the Planning Portal via email - support@planningportal.gsi.gov.uk, or by telephone Support Line 0303 444 8800

What do I need to know?

Trees may be protected under planning law in three ways. 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) and can result in a fine of up to £20,000. 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.

Before any work is undertaken, check the tree is not subject to:

  • Tree Preservation Order (TPO)
  • In a Conservation Area (6 weeks notice required for trees with a stem over 75mm in diameter measured at 1.5m above ground level)
  • Subject to a restrictive Planning Condition

All applications must include:

(a) the particulars specified in the form;
(b) be accompanied, whether electronically or otherwise, by:

  • For tree works applications / notifications a plan will be required which identifies the tree or trees to which the application relates. This plan should be based on an up to date Ordnance Survey map and clearly show the position of the tree (s). The trees can be annotated as T1, T2, T3, etc. if works to a number of trees are proposed.
  • Sufficient information must be submitted to specify the precise extent of work for which consent is sought. For example, this should include the proposed height and spread of the tree after pruning if crown reduction works are proposed or, specify the precise branches to be cut back or removed. Applications referring to percentile reduction will not be accepted. Supporting photographs may assist.
  • A statement of the applicant's reasons for carrying out the works must be included and if relating to tree condition and structure, appropriate evidence from a professionally qualified Arboriculturist.
  • Where subsidence or other structural damage is alleged a report by an appropriate engineer or surveyor and one from an Arboriculturist describing any such damage and cause will be required.

Further Information

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.

What happens next?

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.

If the tree is in a conservation area, the Council has only three options when in receipt of notice to undertake work to a tree:

  • 1. The council can grant consent.
  • 2. Allow the 6 week period to expire when the work can be carried out without consent.
  • 3. If the proposed work is considered unsuitable and the tree is of public amenity, the Council will make the tree(s) the subject of a Tree Preservation Order.

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.