Borough Council of Wellingborough

Protected trees

The Town and Country Planning Act makes provision for the protection of individual trees and groups of trees which are considered to be of high public amenity value. Those trees that have Tree Preservations Orders (TPOs) or are within Conservation Areas are protected by the legislation which makes it an offence to carry out any work on them without permission from the Local Authority unless they are exempt.

Anyone wilfully damaging trees which are growing on Council owned land may be prosecuted.

Is my tree protected?

Please note that the Borough Council use the allocated postal address as issued by the Street Naming and Numbering Office on their records.  This may occasionally differ from the address that occupiers use.  It is therefore important that you obtain confirmation of the approved address before deciding whether a property has a Tree Preservation Order within its curtilage.

Some advice for owners of trees on private land

  • Always contact the Local Authority to ensure that the trees are not protected by a Tree Preservation Order, planning constraints or whether the tree is within a Conservation area. If you own a tree within a conservation area, you are required to provide 6 weeks written notice to the Borough Council of Wellingborough of any proposed tree surgery or removal.
  • Always employ a suitably trained professional Tree Surgeon, who is covered by Public Liability Insurance. (Always ask for proof).
  • Never employ house callers or leaflet droppers claiming to be professional tree surgeons.
  • Reputable Tree Surgeons will always have some form of professional identification and qualification proof. Always ask to see it.
  • Reputable Tree Surgeons can be found in the Yellow Pages or contact us for further advice.
  • Further advice can be obtained from Planning Guidance: Tree Preservation Orders and Trees in a Conservation Area.
  • If you own a group of trees or a small wood and you want to remove more then 5 cubic metres in any calendar quarter you will need to obtain a felling licence from the Foresty Commission, but trees with a diameter below 8cms at 1.5 metres above ground level are exempt.  5 cubic metres is probably the equivalent of one large oak tree. 

Works to trees

Tree Preservation Orders are usually made when it is considered that a tree is under threat and the removal would result in a loss of visual amenity.  Many important trees do not have any protection because they are not perceived as being under threat.

Most trees in a conservation area are afforded protection. It is an offence to cut down, lop, uproot or wilfully destroy a tree in a conservation area unless it has a stem diameter below 75mm without first giving six weeks notice of intent in writing to the council.  The same form has to be filled in as for making an application to carry out work to a tree which is protected by a Tree Preservation Order.

Certain works to protected trees are exempt from the need for consent, these include:-

  1. where the tree is dead, dying or dangerous (but notice is still required);
  2. work done by, or for, certain statutory undertakers such as the water, electricity and gas companies;
  3. where it is necessary to carry out development already authorised by a planning approval

Trees are living organisms so they grow, and decline; it is therefore understood that works need to be done from time to time and the landscape officer is willing to discuss this before an application is made. If a tree which is protected by a Tree Preservation Order has to be removed it is often a condition that another tree is planted in its place.

If you are considering doing any work to a tree you should seek advice before undertaking the work.

Contact details:- Mrs F Webber 01933 231923
or e-mail fwebber@wellingborough.gov.uk

Last Updated: 28/10/2015