Some trees are protected if covered by a Tree protection order (TPO) or located within a Conservation area. The council can also intervene if there is a dispute related to a high hedge.
Tree preservation orders (TPOs)
Under the Town and country planning act 1990 (as amended): Section 92 , the Council can protect trees and woodland through the use of TPOs.
A TPO prevents cutting down, uprooting, topping, lopping, wilful damage or destruction (including cutting roots) without the Council's consent. It stops unnecessary felling and pruning and ensures where felling is permitted that replacement trees are planted.
TPOs can cover a single tree, groups of trees or woodlands. They cannot preserve hedges, bushes or shrubs. Trees need not be exceptional or unusual specimens to merit inclusion in a TPO.
Request a TPO
If you feel that certain trees or woodland should be protected by a TPO, see: Contact Planning services .
How do I know if there is a TPO on my property?
You can arrange to inspect orders at Halifax Customer First, see: Contact Planning services .
To find out what trees are protected, see: Tree Preservation Orders and Conservation Areas (map). This map shows the extent of the individual Tree Preservation Orders in effect. It also shows the extent of Conservation Areas where trees with a diameter of 7.5 centimetres and a height of 1.5 metres are protected.
Note: Formal notification is required before undertaking works.
TPOs are registered as Local land charges. When buying a property, your solicitor will tell you if there is a TPO affecting the property.
What do I do if I need to fell or prune the tree(s)?
You must request written consent from the Council if you want to prune or fell a tree(s) subject to a TPO. The request must be in writing and include details on the nature of the work to be carry out. It must also have a location plan, showing the approximate position of the tree(s). Note: There is no charge for this request.
There are exceptions, such as, the tree is dead, dying or dangerous so the work needs to be taken quickly for safety reasons. We recommend you get advice first, see: Contact Planning services .
You can also, visit: Tree Preservation Orders: A Guide to the Law and Good Practice .
This is not an exhaustive list and does not guarantee to cover all amending Orders.
- Town and country planning act 1990 was substantially amended by the Planning and Compensation Act 1991. It cannot be relied upon without reference to that Act. There may also have been subsequent amending orders (in particular sections 197-214 as amended);
- Planning and Compensation Act 1991 (section 23) ;
- Forestry Act 1967 (as amended) ;
- The Town and Country Planning (Trees) Regulations 1999 (Statutory Instrument No. 1892) .
Note: It is an offence to work on a protected tree without consent. If unauthorised work takes place, the Council can take legal action. This can lead to a fine of either £20,000 or twice the value of the tree, whichever is higher.
If you want to fell trees, you will need a 'felling licence' in the majority of cases.
For details on how to apply for a licence and exceptions where a licence is not needed, visit: Forestry Commision felling licences .
The Council will be asked to comment on any application for a felling licence. All applications are included in the Register of grant schemes and felling for four weeks, during the application.
Before you contact the Council, you should try to resolve an issue you have with a neighbour. We suggest that you keep a record of any contact with the neighbour.
If the issue cannot be resolved, then you can make a complaint to the Council, if the hedge is:
- made up of a line of two or more trees; and
- mainly evergreen (keeps its leaves all year round); and
- at least 2 metres high.
For more details and advice, visit: GOV.UK: High hedges .
Making a formal complaint
For details of the cost to make a formal complaint, see: Fees and charges .
Cutting hedge service
If your neighbour is unable to maintain their hedge due to poor health, they may be eligible for the Council's Cutting hedge gardening service .
Trees in conservation areas
By Law, anyone wanting to cut down or carry out work on trees in conservation areas, must inform the Council. This should be done six weeks before the work is planned to be started.
Notification must be made in writing, giving details of the nature of the work you wish to carry out. You must also provide a location plan, showing the approximate position of the tree(s) you wish to work on.
Note: There is no charge for this.
You do not need to notify the Council if you want to cut down or work on a tree that is:
- less than 7.5 centimetres in diameter (measured 1.5 metres above ground); or
- ten centimetres if you are thinning to help the growth of other trees.
If a tree is dead, dying or dangerous and action needs to be taken quickly for safety reasons, there is no need to follow the notification procedure.
For more information and advice, see: Contact Planning services .