Keeping our parks tidy

Carrying out work on protected trees

Under law, we protect trees of amenity value by way of Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs).

A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) can protect trees and woodlands which have a significant impact on the local environment. A TPO is designed to safeguard trees against cutting down, destruction, or carrying out of inappropriate works.

Many trees in Hillingdon are also protected by virtue of their location within a conservation area, which are areas of special architectural or historical interest.

Search for a protected tree

Applying to work on a protected tree

You will need our consent before cutting down or carrying out work to any trees protected by a TPO. Some work is exempt from the application process and this is explained in pages 3 and 4 of the guidance notes [56KB]

Anyone can apply for consent, and a person can apply to carry out work on trees which are situated in a neighbour's property. However, if the work involves pruning past the boundary line, the owner's permission would have to be obtained before carrying out work to the tree.

An application to carry out work to a protected tree with a TPO must be made using the Planning Portal or you can download the form and guidance notes below.

When filling out the application form, it is important to:

  • identify the trees to which the application relates and by reference to a plan if necessary
  • set out clearly what work is proposed
  • state the reasons for making the application

What happens next?

We will check that the trees in question are in fact protected by a TPO. If they are, you will then receive acknowledgement. If we decide the proposed work is exempt (and as such does not require consent) you will be informed as soon as possible.

If the proposed work is not exempt, we will consider:

  • the physical value of the tree or woodland and the likely impact of the proposal on the amenity of the area
  • the long-term health of the tree and whether or not the proposal is justified having regard to the reasons put forward in support of it

In dealing with your application, we will either:

  • grant consent (subject to such conditions)
  • not grant consent
  • reach a split decision

For example, consent may be granted for the felling of a tree on the condition that a replacement is planted. The applicant retains a right of appeal against any part of an application that is refused or against any conditions attached to the decision. If any application is refused, the council may at the same time recommend alternative works to the tree(s).

If the applicant wished to carry out these alternate works, a new application would be required. All consents are valid for 2 years from the date of that consent, unless otherwise stated in the conditions. After the expiry of the time limit a further application for consent would have to be made. We will usually try and reach a decision on an application within 8 weeks of receiving it.

Who should carry out the works?

If the approved works are not carried out in accordance with the conditions laid out in your approval, enforcement action can being taken which can lead to prosecution and heavy fines.

Therefore, it is highly recommended that the approved works should only be carried out by a professional and competent arboriculturist who undertakes to comply with the conditions of your consent and in accordance with industry best practice.

You may wish to contact the Arboricultural Association for a list of their approved contractors.

What do I do if I disagree with the council's decision?

If consent is refused, you will be given reasons for this decision and advice as to what steps you could take next. If this is the case, you would have a right to appeal, and would need to do so in writing to the Planning Inspectorate within 28 days of receiving the council's decision letter.

Page last updated: 22 May 2020