Tree Preservation Order | Colchester Borough Council

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Tree Preservation Order

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You can't do any work to protected tress unless we've approved a Tree Works Consent.


  • Explanation about Tree Works Consent and Tree Protection Orders
  • Information on trees in Conservation Areas
  • View a list of applications to undertake work to protected trees
  • Supporting documents you need

A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is put in place to preserve single or groups of trees which are of acknowledged amenity value.

You can't undertake work to a protected tree unless you've applied for Tree Works Consent and we've approved it. This applies to the following work:

  • Cutting down
  • Topping - removing all the top branches of a tree
  • Lopping/Pruning - removing branches
  • Uprooting – completely removing the tree & its roots
  • Cutting the roots 

Read more on the Government's site

Trees on large development sites must be properly protected during construction. Read more

Details of tree protection or Conservation Areas on your property should be written in your deeds. If you can’t find anything, try searching our map.

Check if your tree is protected

If trees don't have a TPO, or aren't in a Conservation Area, work can be done without Tree Works Consent.

We don't provide written information regarding trees that aren't protected by a TPO.

If you suspect work is being done without Tree Works Consent, just contact us.

Trees in a Conservation Area

Conservation Areas are areas of natural beauty or of special architectural or historic interest.

Works in Conservation Areas are controlled or restricted to project or improve the character or appearance of the area.

Trees in Conservation Areas are protected as part of preserving the amenity value of the area, so even if the tree(s) isn't protected by a TPO, you still need to apply for consent for works to it.

Conservation Areas can be put in place for a number of reasons. They can be for protecting the natural beauty of the area or for preserving special architectural work and places of historic interest.

Conservation Areas can be spread over wide areas. For example, a whole village could be within a Conservation Area.

A tree can also be protected by a TPO and be within a Conservation Area.

You must give us 6 weeks notice before doing any work to trees in Conservation Areas.

We'll consider the proposed work and whether the tree should be protected by a preservation order. We have up to 6 weeks to agree the work or decide to make a preservation order on the tree(s) affected by the notice.

Approved applications

Details of approved applications for works to trees with TPOs or agreed Conservation Areas:

Advice on the condition of trees

You'll need to assess yourself before deciding if works need to be carried out.

It's recommended you speak to a professional like a tree surgeon or arboricultural consultant.

We can advise you based on the following fees:

  • 1st Hour - £125.00 (+ VAT)
  • Subsequent charge per hour - £75.00 (+ VAT) 

Add a TPO to a tree

TPOs can only be used to protect selected trees and woodlands if their removal would have a significant impact on the local environment and its enjoyment by the public.

If you think your tree qualifies, you can apply to have a tree considered for protection.

Request a new TPO

What type do you need?

Tree Works Consent

To carry out works to protected trees, or trees within a Conservation area, you'll need to apply for specific planning permission called "Tree Works Consent".

Once we've received your application and validated it, it can take up to 8 weeks for a decision to be made.

Once consent has been granted, you'll need to arrange and pay for the works. You'll also have to follow any conditions imposed.

If you need to go onto someone else's property to do the work, you must obtain permission from the land owner.

Permission to undertake work to a tree protected by a preservation order or in a conservation area doesn't mean we give you permission to enter someone else's property to do the work. The owner of the tree must agree to this.

You don't need consent from us to carry out works to trees which can be proven to be dead, or have become immediately dangerous.

However, if you propose to remove a tree under these exemptions we recommend you give us at least 5 days' notice, except in an emergency.

If you're not sure if the tree will fall, you should obtain the advice of an Arboriculturalist or Tree surgeon. 

Read more on the Planning Portal

What supporting documents do you need?

Depending on the type of application you intend to submit, there may be additional documents that are required.

Check supporting documents


There is no charge to apply for Tree Works Consent.


Apply for Tree Works Consent

You can obtain a copy of the application form by contacting us but we will charge a reasonable fee for printing and posting.

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