In the UK, trees are considered important not just to the landscape and local communities but to the environment too. This means that there are laws in place to help protect them and ensure they can’t be cut down without good reason. If you’re thinking of cutting down trees on your land, you may be wondering if you can do this without permission. Read on to find out more.
Trees in your own garden
If you own your home, you generally don’t need permission to cut down a tree in your garden. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. You’ll need to get permission if a tree is:
- Subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). Some trees may be protected by a Tree Preservation Order. If a tree has a TPO, you will need to get permission from the local council before you remove it. TPOs are put in place to protect trees of special importance to the landscape, local community or environment.
- In a Conservation Area. If your property is located within a conservation area, you will need to notify the local council before removing a tree. You must give the council at least six weeks’ notice of your intention to remove it, during which time they will consider whether to place a TPO on the tree. If they do put a TPO in place, you will need to apply for permission before you proceed with the tree removal.
Dead or dangerous trees
In some cases, a tree that is dead or dying or that poses an immediate risk to people or property, can be removed without permission. For example, a tree that has become unsafe due to storm damage may present an imminent risk and require removal as quickly as possible. If you do remove the tree, you’ll need to ensure that you inform the local council afterwards.
Sometimes, highway authorities may opt to remove hazardous trees on public roads or highways without permission in order to ensure road safety. This is because trees that are dead, diseased, structurally unstable or even with overhanging branches can pose a risk to road users, pedestrians and nearby properties and or infrastructure.
Can I cut down a tree myself?
Whilst it might be tempting to cut down a tree yourself to save money, it’s not advisable if you lack the proper training, experience, and equipment. Tree removal can be extremely dangerous, especially for larger trees or those that are in challenging locations. Without the right skills and knowledge, you risk injuring yourself or others or damaging nearby property or infrastructure. If you need to remove a tree on your land, it’s best to hire professional tree surgeons who can carry out the task using the correct techniques and with the necessary safety precautions.