Nature conservation and landscape

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

5. Protected trees and woodland

Tree Preservation Orders

A Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) is made to protect specific trees, groups of trees or woodlands because of their amenity value. If you would like to enquire about applying for a TPO or find out whether any trees on your property are protected by a TPO, please contact us.

To cut down or do any sort of pruning to a protected tree, you will need our written permission. You can apply by completing an online form. There is no cost for submitting this. You should receive a decision within 8 weeks of submitting your application. Please note that it is an offence to carry out works to a protected tree without written permission.

Further advice on applications for works to protected trees is available on the planning portal.

Trees in Conservation Areas

Trees within conservation areas are protected. If you are not sure if your property lies in one of our 23 conservation areas, take a look at the Conservation Area boundaries on our Conservation Area Maps.

To cut down or do any sort of pruning to trees in conservation areas with a trunk diameter of more than 75mm (measured 1.5m from the ground), you need to give us 6 weeks formal notice before you undertake the works. You can do this by completing an online form. There is no cost for submitting this.

If the tree is in a conservation area and protected by a Tree Preservation Order, you will require our written permission, as set out in the above section on Tree Preservation Orders.

Further advice on applications for works to protected trees is available in these guidance notes.

Neighbouring Trees

If a tree overhangs your property and it is not protected you may remove any overhanging branches back to your boundary. By law you should offer to return the cuttings to the tree owner.

We advise you to let the owner of the tree know before you begin any work as they may wish to make alternative arrangements with you. We also advise you to check if the tree is protected by looking at the above sections on Tree Preservation Orders and Trees in Conservation Areas before you do any works. Pruning protected trees needs prior written permission from us. You can do this by completing an online form.

Dangerous and Dead Trees

If a protected tree (or some of its branches) is causing an immediate danger and work is urgently needed to remove that risk, then you do not need prior written permission from us to make the tree safe. However you should let us know before carrying out the work. You can do this by sending an email to planning.admin@gravesham.gov.uk

If the work is so urgent that this is not possible, then you need to let us know as soon as possible after the work has been done. You and/or the person carrying out the work will need to prove that the tree is/was dangerous. Photographs or the opinion of a qualified tree specialist can be helpful.

If a protected tree is dead but not immediately dangerous and you wish to cut it down or prune it, you need to give us five days' notice. You can do this by sending an email to planning.admin@gravesham.gov.uk

Ancient Woodland

Ancient woodland is an area that has been wooded continuously since at least 1600AD. It is a habitat of major importance to nature conservation but is also important for its contribution to landscapes and recreation.

Many of the woodlands in our rural area are ancient woodland. National and local planning policies seek to ensure that this irreplaceable resource is only lost in exceptional cases. You can check if an area is ancient woodland by viewing the DEFRA Magic Interactive Map.

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