Trees and hedges

Some trees are protected, if covered by a Tree Protection Order (TPO) or located within a Conservation Area .

The Council can also get involved in disputes about high hedge .

Tree preservation orders (TPOs)

The Council can protect trees and woodland through the use of TPOs. This is under the Town and country planning act 1990 (as amended): Section 92 .

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, 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, contact: Planning services .

To find out what trees are protected, see: Tree Preservation Orders and Conservation Areas (map). This shows the extent of TPOs that are in effect. It also shows the extent of Conservation Areas where trees are protected that have:

  • with a diameter of 7.5 centimetres;
  • and a height of 1.5 metres.

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 get written consent from the Council to prune or fell tree(s) that are subject to a TPO.

The request must be made using the formal application form or by submitting online via the Planning Portal .

Your application must include:

  • details of the proposed works;
  • why the works are being undertaken;
  • and a location plan that shows the position of the trees.

For felling works that are proposed due to concerns over safety or structural damage, you must have:

  • written evidence from an appropriate expert, as detailed on the application form.

Failure to submit the correct information will result in a delay in processing the application, until:

  • the correct information has been provided;
  • or return of the application.

Note: There is no charge for this request.

There are exemptions from requiring consent, such as, the tree is dead or dangerous. We recommend you get advice first, please contact: Planning services .

You can be prosecuted, if works have taken place that were not been authorised.

For more about this, please visit: Tree Preservation Orders: A Guide to the Law and Good Practice .

Relevant legislation

This is not an exhaustive list and does not guarantee to cover all amending Orders.

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.

Felling licences

If you want to fell trees, you will need a 'felling licence' in the majority of cases.

To apply for a licence and see the 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.

High hedges

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 two 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 .

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 procedure

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.

Exceptions

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 on this or any advice, contact: Planning services .

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See also