Common concerns regarding Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs).

How can I tell if my tree is protected?

You can contact us to see if a tree is protected.

The builders are felling/pruning trees on a nearby construction site. Is this legal?

The retention, felling, pruning, and replacement of trees are all part of the planning application and approval process. Any tree work must adhere to the plans attached to the granted planning permission. A full planning permission will override the legal protection of trees.

My neighbor is pruning/cutting down a tree in their garden. Do they have authority?

If the tree is not protected by a TPO and is not located in a conservation area, no council permission is required. The work may also be exempt. You can look for approved tree work applications on the Planning application search or contact us if you are unsure.

What should I do if I suspect someone has harmed or felled a protected tree?

Contact us We can check to see if they are doing legal work. If there is no record of work being done and the trees are protected, we will look into the unauthorized work.

Can protected trees be felled to allow for development?

Trees may be removed without the council's permission if they are not subject to a TPO and are not growing in a conservation area. Trees, whether protected or not, are a material consideration when submitting a planning application. The council has the authority to impose conditions during the planning approvals process to ensure that trees are adequately protected during the construction phase.

I recently purchased a home with several mature trees in the garden; how do I know if they are safe?

Regarding the condition of the trees, you should seek the advice of a tree contractor/surgeon or consultant. They will inspect the trees, noting their condition and possibly recommending work to them. In most cases, if your trees are subject to a TPO or are in a conservation area, you must submit details of the work to the council. It is recommended that mature trees near buildings or the public highway be inspected on a regular basis. The number of inspections will be determined by the size and condition of the trees.

I believe my protected tree has died. Is it possible for me to remove it?

Without the need to submit an application, any protected tree that is dead, dying, or dangerous can be removed. However, unless the tree is imminently dangerous, it is best to notify the council five days in advance. Please contact us if the tree requires immediate attention. When the council offices are closed, such as on weekends, work may continue; however, the onus is on the tree owner and contractor to demonstrate that the tree qualified for an exemption. As a result, it is best to take photographs, save sections of the tree, and contact the council as soon as possible after completing the work. It may also be necessary to plant a replacement tree.

Will the council accept responsibility for my protected tree if I am not allowed to cut it down and it causes damage to my neighbor's property?

If the council refuses permission to fell a protected tree, causing damage to your neighbor's property, you may be able to make a compensation claim. This will depend on whether the damage was caused directly by the refusal and the severity of the damage. If you have any concerns, you should obtain an independent tree specialist report. Any claim for compensation must be made within 12 months of the council's decision (or, in the case of an appeal, the Welsh Minister's decision).

Can I sue the city council for compensation if a protected tree causes me harm?

No Landowners are responsible for ensuring the safety of their trees, whether they are protected by a TPO or in a conservation area.

Will the council pay to have my protected tree pruned?

No, all landowners are responsible for ensuring the safety of their trees. Any necessary pruning must be done at the expense of the landowner.

Can I appeal the council's decision if my work permit application is denied?

Yes, but appeals must be submitted in writing within 28 days of the decision of the council. The Planning Inspectorate handles them independently, usually through written representations, and they take three to five months to resolve. There is no cost to file an appeal.

It is possible to file an appeal against:

  • a refusal
  • granting permission with conditions
  • failure to make a decision on the application within the eight-week period

How can I get a TPO for a tree?

Request the appointment of a new TPO.

Ivy is creeping up the trunk of my tree, and I'm afraid it will kill it. Is it necessary for me to remove it?

Ivy is not parasitic and does not cause tree death. The main issue with ivy is that it increases the'sail effect' and weight of deciduous trees in winter, making them more vulnerable to storm damage. Another issue is that ivy can conceal flaws in a tree's trunk and main branches.

Ivy is vital to the environment. It blooms late in the year, providing one of the last food sources for insects before winter. The fruit grows over the winter and matures in early spring, when there is a scarcity of food for birds and mammals. Ivy provides good winter cover because it is evergreen. If ivy grows along the lateral branches of a tree and extends high into the crown, it will most likely need to be controlled.

Ivy is typically controlled by cutting and removing sections of the ivy stems at the base of the tree. If ivy has grown out of control, it may indicate that the tree is sick. This happens when a tree dies back, allowing more light into the crown and promoting the growth of ivy. Regarding the condition of a suspect tree, you should seek the advice of a tree contractor/tree surgeon or arboricultural consultant.

My tree spits out a sticky substance. What can I do to help?

This is most likely 'honey dew,' a sticky sugary substance secreted by aphids that live on the underside of leaves. Sooty moulds can colonize the honey dew, turning it black. Some species, such as limes, are more vulnerable than others. Honey dew occurrence varies from year to year. Natural predators will also aid in population reduction. Because of aphids, the council will usually deny permission to prune or remove a protected tree. Warm soapy water can be used to remove the black substance from a car.

A fungus is growing on my tree. Is the tree now dangerous?

Fungi of various types affect trees; the type of fungus is usually associated with a few host tree species. The importance of the fungus varies depending on the tree species. Some fungi can kill trees, while others have little effect on them. Removing the fungus's fruiting body will not solve the problem because it is only the reproductive part of the fungus; the main body of the fungus is contained within the tree. It is best to seek independent arboricultural advice to determine the significance of any fungus you discover.

Where can I learn more about ash dieback?

See our ash dieback page for more information.

When is the best time to prune my trees?

Generally, trees should be pruned when they are dormant (November to February). However, because each tree species reacts differently, seek expert advice if in doubt. Avoid pruning maples and birches in the spring because they bleed profusely. Walnut trees should be pruned only in the late summer, while cherries should be pruned in the middle of the summer.

My drains are being clogged by tree roots. What should I do?

Tree roots are opportunistic, and if a pipe with poor joints leaks into the surrounding soil, the roots will be attracted. If repairs are required, a large number of tree roots frequently lead to the blame being placed with a nearby tree. Replacing faulty drains/pipes with modern materials, on the other hand, will usually eliminate the leak and end the problem.

I'm having issues with a tree in my neighbor's garden that is blocking light. What should I do?

Blocking light and shading between two properties are private issues. There is no general right of light for one property over another. If the trees blocking the light are a row of two or more evergreen species, follow our high hedges advice.  

My neighbor's trees are encroaching on my property line. Can I reduce them?

Civil law allows you to remove any branches that are overhanging your property and projecting up into the airspace over the boundary line. However, if the tree is protected by a TPO or is in a conservation area, a tree works application/notification must be made to the council and a decision made before any work is undertaken.

How do I select a tree surgeon?

Tree surgery is a highly specialized job that necessitates extensive knowledge, skills, and experience. Arborists (tree surgeons) who are competent will have certificates proving that they have been trained and assessed, and they will use safety equipment to protect you, your property, and themselves. Choosing a Tree Surgeon (PDF) [267KB]

Additional information and useful contacts

Orders for tree preservation (Welsh Government)

The Arboricultural Society

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