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Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) and Trees in Conservation Areas

We protect trees to help Waverley keep its rural character and they can be protected by Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs), Conservation Areas or by Planning Conditions.

There are substantial fines for carrying out any works to a protected tree without our consent. Before you do any work on a tree you should find out if it is protected.

TPO or Conservation Area

To find out if a tree or trees are protected by a TPO or conservation area you can use our online mapping:

Online Planning Maps (opens new tab) 

Planning conditions

Please contact us to check if there are any planning conditions which could affect any work you want to do.

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) 

TPOs are used to protect trees that are considered to be good examples of their species, contribute to the amenity and appearance of an area and / or have historic or cultural value to a location. 

A TPO is a legal order that makes it a criminal offence to cut down, prune, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree or trees without the Authorities consent.

If a tree is protected, you need to apply for permission to work on a tree protected by TPO. 

Conservation Areas

A Conservation Areas is an area of special historic or architectural interest, the appearance or character is considered to be desirable to preserve and enhance. As part of a Conservation Area, trees provide important contribution and are therefore given protection.

Within a Conservation Area all trees with a trunk over 75mm in diameter (measured at 1.5m above ground level) are protected by law. 

If you want to cut down or carry out works to a tree in a Conservation Area, you must notify us, giving us at least 6 weeks formal written notice.  

Planning Conditions

When planning permission for development is granted, a condition may be used requiring existing trees to be preserved or new planting to be maintained, even if they are not protected by a TPO or in a Conservation Area. 

What type of trees are afforded protection? 

Any species of tree can be afforded protected.

If your neighbour's trees are protected, then even if they overhang your property and they are happy for you to carry out work, you will still need our consent first.

You need to apply for permission if you want to carry out works to a tree or trees in a Conservation Area or protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

Once a submitted application has been deemed valid:

  • For TPOs, please allow 8 weeks to process your application.
  • For trees in Conservation Areas, please allow 6 weeks to process your application.

Tree works application form (PDF - opens in new window)

Guidance notes for tree works applications (PDF - opens in new window)

How we determine applications

Once we have a valid application, we will consult with the parish or town council and notify adjoining owners for their views. Officers decide most applications, although controversial applications may also be referred to committee for councillors to decide at committee.

You can search and view determined or current tree work applications (for TPOs) on our Planning applications online enquiry system

Conservation Areas are not viewable on our planning applications online enquiry system. Please email treeadmin@waverley.gov.uk if you require details of pending applications.

Waverley Borough Council as a Local Planning Authority has a ‘duty’ to ensure that adequate provision is made for the preservation of trees and planting of new trees.

When an application is made requiring the removal of trees or a tree is removed in an emergency, there is a positive presumption towards replacing the lost tree within the next planting season (which runs annually from October to March).

What is the required size or species of a replacement tree?

The replacement for a removed tree should in most instances be of the same tree species and in the same or similar location as the tree removed. The required size of the replacement tree and should that of a ‘Standard’ nursery size, of a minimum 8-10cm girth and approximately 2-2.5m tall.

Tree Officers may in some instances agree to the planting of different species (including native or non-native), sizes and / or location, but this is on a case by case basis.  Please contact us for further guidance:

You can request a copy of a TPO. This service costs £15.

Please email treeadmin@waverley.gov.uk with the TPO number, or details about the protected trees (Address, location, description).

Once we receive your request, we will contact you to arrange payment and to send you a copy of the TPO.

Before making a request for a TPO to be made, please read:

  • Our Tree Guidelines (opens in a new window) explains the criteria we use for determining if a TPO should be made.
  • Gov.uk guidance (opens in a new window) The government website provides further/ national guidance on protecting trees and the factors considered when deciding whether or not to make a TPO.

Make a request

The Local Authority will only make a Tree Preservation Order if it can be demonstrated that the tree is under threat and that the tree is worthy of protection. If you think your tree or trees meet the criteria, please write to us with your request.  You need to include:

  • (Ideally) A plan showing the location of trees
  • Number of tress
  • Species (if known)
  • Why you consider the trees need protection
  • Photographs (if possible)

Please send the information to:

Email: treeadmin@waverley.gov.uk

Postal Address: Tree and Landscape Team,  Waverley Borough Council, The Burys, Godalming GU7 1HR

Owners will still have a legal duty to look after trees with TPOs

The making of a TPO does not mean the council becomes responsible for the maintenance of a tree. If you own a protected tree, you are responsible for looking after it.

If a protected tree is dead or is proven to be imminently dangerous, then we won’t need to follow the normal application process. However the onus of proof rests with you! To avoid any misinterpretation, we would recommend you read the government guidance on exceptions for works to protected trees

If you wish to remove or prune a tree (to make it safe), then you must give us 5 working days written notice of your intention to carry out the works, along with suitable evidence. This could include photos and / or a tree surgeon’s report.

A site visit by Tree Officers will sometimes also be required  to check that the tree is dead or dangerous and that the works can then be done.

There is a legal duty to plant a replacement tree when a tree is removed under these circumstances.

 

When notifying us of works to dead or dangerous trees, please email: treeadmin@waverley.gov.uk