Birmingham City Council

Tree Preservation FAQs



Tree Preservation - Frequently Asked Questions
What is a tree preservation order?
What is the purpose of a tree preservation order?
What type of trees can be covered by an order?
How can I find out if a tree is covered by an order?.
How do I apply for consent to carry out work to a protected trees or trees?.
What if my application to carry out work is refused, or I object to the conditions?
My neighbour's tree(s) encroach over my boundary, what can I do?.
My tree doesn't look healthy - can the council advise me? If not where else can I seek advice?.
My tree is protected and has been damaged by strong winds. What should I do?
What is a conservation area?
Who becomes responsible for looking after the trees once protected?
There are trees that I think should be protected. What should I do?
What happens if I carry out work on a protected tree without permission?.
What happens if I carry out work on a protected tree without permission?
Can I stop planning permission being granted or prevent development being carried out by getting a tree preservation order imposed on trees on the site?
Do I always need permission to work on a protected tree?

What is a tree preservation order?


A tree preservation order is made by the local planning authority which makes it an offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree without permission from the planning authority. Tree preservation orders are used to protect trees that contribute to the appearance of an area. They are made if a tree is under threat of being cut down or damaged..

What is the purpose of a tree preservation order?

A tree preservation order protects trees that make an impact on their local surroundings. This is important when trees are in immediate danger


What type of trees can be covered by an order?



All trees regardless of species can be protected by a tree preservation order. The order can cover anything from a single tree to woodlands. Hedgerows trees can be protected, but NOT hedges, bushes or shrubs.

How can I find out if a tree is covered by an order?

You can find out if a tree or trees are protected by contacting the Tree Preservation section. You can
visit our offices after making an appointment to view the tree preservation records.

Opening Hours


Monday - Thursday (8.45am - 5.15pm)
Friday (8.45am - 4.15pm)

Tel:0121 303 1115
Email:planning.enquiries@birmingham.gov.uk


How do I apply for consent to carry out work to a protected trees or trees?


You can complete our online application form for tree works consent. Or, an application can be downloaded from the Planning Portal.


This form should be completed and returned to:
Conservation Group
Planning
1 Lancaster Circus
Queensway
Birmingham
B1 1TU



What if my application to carry out work is refused, or I object to the conditions?.


You can appeal within 28 days from the date of receiving the decision letter to the Secretary of State:.


Contact Details


The Planning Inspectorate
The Environment Team
Room 464, Kite Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Temple Quay
Bristol
BS1 6PN

Tel: (0117) 372 6382
Email: environment.appeals@pins.gsi.gov.uk
Website: www.gos.gov.uk/gowm


A streamlined procedure for dealing with Tree Preservation Order appeals (including appeals against tree replacement notices) has been put into practice following amended regulations in 2008. This allows for an appeal without the need for a hearing or inquiry.


The appeal decision will be made on the basis of the application originally made to the local planning authority, together with any third party comments received at the time and following a visit to the site by an appointed Inspector. Where appropriate, the appeal will be handled by an Inspector with suitable arboricultural expertise.



My neighbour's tree(s) encroach over my boundary, what can I do?


Your common law rights allow you to remove any of your neighbours' branches that cross your boundary without the need to seek your neighbours' permission, although you may wish to notify your neighbour of your intentions. You should not cross the boundary or dispose of the branches or other material from the tree into your neighbours' property, but first ask if they wish to have the material returned to them. If they do not want it, it will be your responsibility to arrange disposal.


If the tree is protected by a tree preservation order or is located within a Conservation Area you will need to seek permission before undertaking work to living parts of the tree.



My tree doesn't look healthy - can the council advise me? If not where else can I seek advice?


The council can only advise you if the tree is covered by a tree preservation order or you live within a conservation area. Otherwise you should contact a qualified tree surgeon

My tree is protected and has been damaged by strong winds. What should I do?

You can carry out whatever work is needed to make the tree safe. The work must be the minimum needed and additional work will require an application of consent. You must inform us as soon as possible if you have carried out work to a damaged protected tree or if a protected tree has been blown over into your garden. You may be required to replace a protected tree that has been blown down or felled.

If possible take a photograph of the storm damage or get a qualified tree surgeon to make a written report, as it will be your responsibility to prove that the work carried out was essential to make the tree safe.



What is a conservation area?


A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character and appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. There are 27 Conservation Areas in Birmingham


Trees within conservation areas are given special protection because of the contribution they make to an area and unauthorised felling or lopping of trees carries the same penalties as trees protected by a tree preservation order. You will need to apply for consent to carry out works to a tree located in a conservation area



Who becomes responsible for looking after the trees once protected?

The owner remains responsible for the trees but you must seek permission before carrying out work unless they are dead, dying, or dangerous

For appropriate help or advise on how the trees should be managed or on how best to carry out any work contact a qualified tree surgeon



There are trees that I think should be protected. What should I do?


Contact us giving details of the tree or trees and the reasons why you think it should be protected. You can do this directly using our request a tree preservation order online form. Once we have received your request it will be added to our request list. In due course a tree officer will assess your request. Once an assessment has taken place you will be contacted with a decision.


Further enquiries can be made to the Tree preservation team
Tel: 0121 303 1115
Email:planning.enquiries@birmingham.gov.uk.



What happens if I carry out work on a protected tree without permission?


If you destroy or damage a tree you could be fined up to £20,000 if convicted in the magistrates court. For other offences you could be fined up to £2 ,500


If the tree was cut down or destroyed you will normally have to plant a replacement tree..



Can I stop planning permission being granted or prevent development being carried out by getting a tree preservation order imposed on trees on the site?


No. A tree preservation order does not prevent planning permission being granted although we will consider the risk to protected trees. Once planning permission has been granted, any felling may be carried out which is directly required to enable the development to go ahead..

Do I always need permission to work on a protected tree?

Yes except for:
Cutting down trees in accordance with one of the Forestry Commission's grant schemes, or where the commission has granted a felling licence.

You can cut down or cut back a tree under the following exemptions:

  • If the tree is dead, dying or dangerous.
  • In line with an obligation under an Act of Parliament.
  • At the request of certain organisations specified in the order.
  • If it is directly in the way of development that is about to start for which detailed planning permission has been granted..
  • In a commercial orchard, or pruning fruit trees in accordance with good horticultural practise. To prevent or control a legal nuisance (you may find it helpful to check first with a solicitor).

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 Last Updated : 10th March 2014