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How Do I Know If My Tree Is Protected?

Tree works cannot be carried out on every tree. Some trees are legally protected due to the amenity value they provide to the local area, and written consent is required to prune or remove these trees. When you purchase a new property, you may also be purchasing a protected tree. If you suspect you may have a protected tree on your property or live in a Conservation Area, it’s important to find out for certain whether consent is required to undertake pruning work or tree removal. Failing to do so could see you face prosecution.

In this article, we explain how you can find out whether your tree is protected.

What is a protected tree?

Some trees are protected with a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or fall under Conservation Area protection. A Tree Preservation Order is a written order which states that it is a criminal offence to to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a protected tree without the permission of the relevant authorities.

If you are found guilty of breaching a Tree Preservation Order, you may be taken to the Crown Court to receive an unlimited fine.

> Read more in our ‘What are Tree Preservation Orders’ article.

How can I find out if my tree is protected?

You must find out whether your tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order before starting any work on it. There are a few ways to find out.

  • Local authority maps

Your local authority may have a map available to view trees that are currently under Tree Preservation Orders or are in a Conservation Area. If you are unable to find this map, simply contact your local authority and they should be able to inform you further.

  • Government maps

Government maps will detail national sites protected by particular preservation laws. These include Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), protected under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

  • Inventories for ancient wood and ancient trees

Many older trees have a degree of protection through planning policy. You can check which of these trees are protected by checking the Ancient Woodland Inventory (AWI) and Ancient Tree Inventory (ATI). The AWI shows all of the areas of ancient woodland currently designated by the statutory nature conservation bodies. The ATI shows important ancient trees that are protected for their historic significance.

  • Conservation Area

If you live in a Conservation Area you must notify your Local Planning Authority with details of works you wish to carry out on any tree. The LPA then has 6 weeks to put a Tree Preservation Order on that tree/s or give you permission to carry out the work.

How do I obtain permission to work on a protected tree?

If you are in possession of a protected tree and wish to alter it in some way, you must apply for a permit. You must make a ‘works to trees’ application to your local authority and they will decide whether to grant you authority to work on the tree. 


Artemis Tree Services are experienced, award-winning contractors working throughout North London, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. We offer a free site visit and survey to assess your tree and offer help and advice regarding the type of work that can and should be carried out on your tree. As experts, we’re always happy to answer any queries you might have about the trees on your property.

Book a free site survey today or contact our team.


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