Keeping our parks tidy

Carrying out work on trees in conservation areas

If a tree is situated within a conservation area and has a diameter at breast height greater than 75mm, it is protected by virtue of its location.

Anyone proposing to cut down or carry out work on a tree in a conservation area is required to give us 6 weeks notice.

This gives us an opportunity to consider whether the tree(s) in question merits the added protection of a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). 

Read government planning guidance on TPOs and trees in conservation areas.

How to give notice

To carry out work to a tree within a conservation area, email trees@hillingdon.gov.uk or by submit am application form through the planning portal.

It is important on the form to identify the trees to which the notification relates (by reference to a plan if necessary) and set out clearly what work is proposed.

For example, if the applicant wishes to prune the tree, the proposal should clarify exactly what work is required. We recommend discussing your proposals with an independent arboriculturist or similar. If the notification received is unclear or does not provide the right information,  we will seek further clarification which could hold up the process.

What happens next?

We will check whether the trees in question are in fact within a conservation area. If they are, you will then receive an acknowledgement letter, which should give the date marking the end of the 6 week period.

If appropriate, we may consult local residents and Conservation Area Advisory Panels to give them an opportunity to comment on the proposal.

In dealing with your application, we may either:

  • make a TPO if justified in the interests of amenity
  • allow the 6 weeks to expire, at which point the proposed work may go ahead, as long as it is done so within 2 years from the date of notice
  • decide not to make a TPO and inform the applicant that the work can go ahead

We cannot refuse consent, nor grant consent subject to conditions because the section 211 notice is not an application for consent under a TPO.

You should receive an answer from the council within 6 weeks.

If the works are not carried out in accordance with the notification of tree works, enforcement action can be taken. Therefore, it is recommended that the approved works should only be carried out by a professional and competent arboriculturist who undertakes to comply with industry best practice.

You may wish to contact the Arboricultural Association for a list of their approved contractors.

Penalties

If a protected tree (subject to a TPO or within a conservation area) is topped, lopped, wilfully damaged, destroyed, removed or uprooted without consent, the owner is guilty of  an offence. If convicted, the landowner, is liable for a fine of up to £20,000.

If the offence relates to the removal of a protected tree, the landowner is also placed under a duty to plant another tree of an appropriate size and species in the same place, which can be enforced with a Tree Replacement Notice (TRN).

Anyone who carries out work in a way that is not likely to destroy the tree is liable to a fine in the Magistrates' Court of up to £2,500.

Page last updated: 17 Mar 2020