There are many reasons you might want to fell a tree on your property. Perhaps the tree is dying or diseased, or just in the way and causing a nuisance. Before you conduct any work on trees on your property, and certainly before you cut one down, you should be sure that you have all necessary permissions. If you don’t, you could be opening yourself up to serious fines and penalties. At Climbers Way Tree Care, our experienced tree surgeons can provide expert advice and guidance, or even take care of these permissions on your behalf, free of charge.
In this guide we’ll help you understand the various ways a tree can be legally protected, and the potential consequences of not obtaining the right permissions.
Things You Should Consider Before Cutting Down a Tree on Your Property
There are three key things to bear in mind before you undertake any work on a tree on your property: Do you own the tree; is the tree protected; and do you need any additional permissions? Some of these issues are complex, and if you get them wrong you could face significant fines.
Do you own the tree?
This probably seems like an obvious place to start, but is not always as straightforward as it seems. If the tree is on your property and not otherwise protected, then you have the right to conduct any required work, including felling it. However, things get more complicated if the tree straddles a border with a neighbouring property. In this instance, ownership depends on where the tree was originally planted. If your neighbour owns the tree, then you will need their permission before felling it. If you rent your home, you would need permission from your landlord before undertaking any work.
Is the tree covered by any protections?
Before undertaking any work on a tree on your property, you should check if it is legally protected. There are two main ways a tree can be protected: Tree Protection Orders (TPOs), and Conservation Areas. Check out our previous article on tree protections to understand more about how to deal with these. If you were to undertake work on a protected tree without necessary Council permissions, you could face a substantial fine. Our tree surgeons are used to working with Councils to obtain these permissions, and would be happy to take care of these permissions on your behalf.
Do you need any other permissions?
It’s not only TPOs and Conservation Areas you need to think about. Depending on where you live, and where your tree is, you might need additional permissions. If the tree is on non-residential property, such as in woodlands, you will likely need a felling licence from the Forestry Commission. These are complex licences, and permission is based on the volume of the timber to be cut, and the variety of tree. Our tree surgeons are experienced in both residential and commercial tree felling, so will be able to assess the job and help you understand the licences that might be required.
If you are in a new-build home, you might find that trees on your property are covered by conditions in the original planning permission. You can check your plans and any conditions supplied to you when you purchased your home to check what permissions you might need.
What Are the Consequences if You Don’t Get the Right Permissions?
If you fail to get the right permissions to cut down a tree in your garden, you could face significant fines or other penalties. If you cut down a tree which is covered by a Tree Protection Order, for example, you could face a fine of up to £20,000 and be forced to plant a tree in its place.
If you were to cut down a tree which is not owned by you, you could be sued for damage to property by the person who owns the tree. Not to mention the significant damage that could be done to the relationship with your neighbour.
If you cut down trees in woodland without the required felling licences, you could be fined £2,500 or more. You could also be left responsible for planting and maintaining new trees in the same area. These restocking orders can require you to maintain the trees for up to ten years.
How We Can Help Take the Stress Away
Our tree surgeons have a huge amount of experience dealing with protected trees. We have a detailed knowledge of the various permissions required to undertake work on trees in both residential and commercial locations. We will even take care of requesting necessary permissions from the Council for you, free of charge, before undertaking any work.
Safety is always our primary concern, so damage to property is highly unlikely. However, our tree surgeons are also all fully insured in the event that there is any damage to property caused by our tree works.
Our tree surgeons take all of the stress out of tree work. You can be confident that all legal permissions, safety measures, and insurance are taken care of.