arrow arrow logo-rgb logo-small logo-small logo-white
RFB logo small

How to make an Application for Tree Works


How do you make an Application for Tree Works to the local Council to carry out works on trees subject to a Tree Preservation Order?

A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) can cover individual trees, groups of trees, or a woodland. Read more here about Tree Preservation Orders and how to find out if trees are covered and the implications of a TPO.

We're going to run through an example of advice given to a client who has a site with an area TPO.

Periodic Tree Survey
Conducted by a registered Arboricultural Consultant to determine the health of the trees and make any recommendations regarding works to prevent them becoming a hazard to site users or the public. This can be an important document for insurance purposes as your commitment to regular inspections will act in your favour should the worst happen. Timing needs to be considered to give you enough time to make an Application for Tree Works and tender the work whilst avoiding conflict with bird nesting season.

Determine Work Required
Made on the recommendations of the findings of the tree survey. There may be periods when no work is required and no application need made. There may be other reasons for an application, such as crown-lifting/pruning, for operational reasons such as conflict with street lighting.

Ecological considerations
Mature trees may provide suitable hollows for bats to use as roosts. Bats and their roosts are legally protected, and so the landowner needs to ascertain whether bats are present before undertaking works likely to cause disturbance or loss of a roost. A preliminary survey by an Ecologist should identify potential roost sites.

Pre-Application Consultation
The local planning authority generally look favourably on a pre-application consultation. This is usually done with a meeting on site. They will give you advice on how best to make the application and the meeting should determine the extent of compensatory tree planting should it be required.

Application for Tree Works
This is made on the outcome of the Tree Survey, Pre-Application Consultation and any desired works to make the site more attractive/manageable or help with operational needs (such as the CCTV sight lines). Application can be made with a pro-forma or via the e Planning portal. The planning authority then have 8 weeks to make a decision.

Tree Works Plan
You will need a plan showing which trees need to be worked on or removed and replacement planting. A Landscape Architect can advise on new tree planting and produce a plan based on the re-planting requirements. Careful consideration is needed to select the correct species and location of new planting.

Tender Tree Works
Quotes for the tree work can be sought during the application process so that a contractor is ready to carry out the work as soon as you have a response from the planning authority. Look for registered tree surgeons and seek recommendations for reputable companies.

Carry Out Tree Works
Winter is the dormant season for trees and is the most appropriate time to carry out any work; it also avoids conflict with nesting birds. New tree planting can take place at a similar time to allow bare root stock to be planted, which can be significantly cheaper.

The above is guidance on the process for carrying out work to trees covered by a TPO, but there may be additional complexities to individual situations that would need the input of a Landscape Architect. A Landscape Architect can manage the process, making sure the right discussions take place at the correct point in time, which will lead to a better chance of success when making an Application for Tree Works.

It is worth noting that all trees in Conservation Areas above 150mm diameter are protected in the same manner as a TPO.

Useful links

Planning Portal Guidance

Planning Practice Guidance from the Department for Communities and Local Government

Our guidance on Tree Preservation Orders

Not a bowcaster, but more effective for tree removal

Trees being protected during construction work

Tree replanting in shelters