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Do You Need Permission To Cut Trees Down

  • Posted by:
  • Admin
  • Tags:
  • Trees, Felling, Property, Preservation, Permission
  • Posted date:
  • 26-04-2023
Do You Need Permission To Cut Trees Down

Do you need permission to cut trees down? Rushtons Tree Care are professional tree surgeons working throughout Preston and Lancashire. We look at the law with cutting trees and discuss felling a tree in your garden.

What is the law against cutting trees?

Tree felling laws are fairly complicated in the UK. Protecting our timber has been an issue for centuries, with numerous laws passed to protect our forests and woodland. Navigating these laws can be tricky, but this article will familiarise you with the key points.

If you want to cut down a tree for safety reasons or property management, we can make things clearer for you. Once you understand felling laws in the UK, you'll be in a better place to know what you can and can't do.

Do You Need Permission To Cut Trees Down? Tree Felling Preston and Lancashire

Felling a tree in your garden

If the tree you want to fell stands entirely on your property, you won't need permission to fell it unless:

It is protected by a Tree Preservation Order

Your property is in a Conservation Area

You rent your home, in which case you'll need your landlord's permission.

If you damage a neighbour's property while felling your tree, you must cover all repair costs. This is a main part of your responsibility as the property owner. Equally, if your tree hangs over your neighbour's property, they have the right to trim any branches that reach onto their property.

Felling Licences

If you want to fell a tree outside of your private property, you'll need to secure a felling licence. The appropriate government departments will discuss your felling rights when issuing your licence so you know what you can and can't do.

Most caveats include replanting or maintaining the trees for a set time. Additionally, if the trees you want to fell account for up to 5 cubic metres of timber, you'll definitely need a felling licence.


What are the alternatives to felling trees?

Felling a tree is a drastic step, and should always be the last thing you do when managing trees. The impact on wildlife and the surrounding area can be huge when bringing a tree down. So, you should always try to find another way to deal with the problem.

Felling is usually only the right choice if the tree in question poses a threat to health and safety. But even in these cases, pollarding or pruning can often solve the issue without removing the tree completely. Professional tree surgeons can offer advice on the best course of action to deal with your trees.

What is a Tree Preservation Order?

A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is issued by a local planning authority to protect trees or woodland. They can protect single trees or groups of trees. Essentially they aim to prevent changes that would harm the local environment or the public's enjoyment of it.

Cutting down a tree in a conservation area

You must give 6 weeks' notice if you want to fell a tree in a Conservation Area. This gives your local authority time to determine if they should issue a TPO or allow you to fell the tree. You generally don't need permission to fell trees with diameters less than 7.5cm.

Potential penalties and fines

You cannot cut down, destroy or uproot trees that are:

Protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO)

In a Conservation Area

Above 5 cubic metres in volume

If you damage or fell or damage trees falling into these categories without permission you could be:

Fined £20,000

Served notice to replace the trees you destroyed

Prosecuted for not having a felling licence


If you require specialist tree services in Lancashire, whether for pruning and maintenance or felling and site clearance, Rushtons Tree Care is here to help. Our professional team of qualified tree surgeons will be happy to help with all your arboricultural needs.