Some trees and hedgerows are protected. You need our permission before you do any work on them

Protected Trees

Trees can be protected in three ways:

1. Protection by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO)
2. Protection by virtue of being located within a Conservation Area
3. Protection by virtue of a condition(s) being attached to an earlier planning permission relating to the site.

So before doing any work, you should contact our Development Control Team to clarify whether the tree(s) are affected in one or more of these ways.

There are over 500 Tree Preservation Orders that are in force in North West Leicestershire, which you can view on our list Tree Preservation Orders February 2024 (Word Document, 0.1 Mb)

For consent to carry out works to trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order or within a conservation area, you can download the relevant form (PDF Document, 0.54 Mb) and Tree Guidance Note (PDF Document, 0.18 Mb), or apply online via the Planning Portal.

The Government's website provides further advice on tree protection issues - including a guide to tree preservation procedures

Getting a Tree Protected

If you consider that a tree is worthy of protection, please write or email us  to identifying the tree(s) in question and outlining why you consider it should be protected.

Tree Advice

Trees are the responsibility of whoever owns the land.  The owner of the land is responsible for the maintenance of the trees.  The responsibility to remedy a tree hazard rests solely with the tree owner and not the District Council (unless the District Council owns the tree), and this includes trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order and/or in a Conservation Area. 

The District Council is therefore unable to assist in any assessment of the trees’ health or condition, and will be unable to carry out site assessments to view the trees or works to the trees, irrespective of whether they are protected or not.   Matters relating to trees, including tree safety, are a civil matter to be resolved by the tree owner and the person(s) affected by the trees, unless highway users are at risk (which would be dealt with by Leicestershire County Council). 

As such it is the tree owner’s responsibility to carry out whatever work is necessary to make trees safe in an emergency situation and/or to carry out any other works to the trees.  The consent of the tree owner will be required before any works are carried out to any tree.

If the trees are protected then we recommended that you seek your own independent arboricultural advice and then submit a formal application for works to trees in a Conservation area of works to a tree protected by a Tree Preservation Order.  You can download the relevant form (PDF Document, 0.54 Mb) and Tree Guidance Note (PDF Document, 0.18 Mb), or apply online via the Planning Portal.

Dangerous Trees (which are not Protected).  

From a legal point of view, the responsibility to remedy a hazard rests solely with the tree owner and not the Council. As such it is the tree owners responsibility to carry out whatever work is necessary to make a tree safe in an emergency situation. If you feel that a neighbour's tree may cause a danger to you or your property, we advise you to approach your neighbour directly and seek the advice of a qualified professional.  NWLDC Officers have no delegated powers in respect of Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act and cannot intervene on behalf of aggrieved neighbours.

Dangerous Trees which are Protected - Five Day Exemption for Works

As set out above, the resposibiltiy to remedy a hazard rests solely with the tree owner and not the Council.  

It is possible for works to be carried out a tree that is not dead and that is protected by a Tree Preservation Order to the extent that the works are urgently necessary to remove an immediate risk of serious harm, provided the District Council is given at least five working days’ notice in writing of the works taking place to the tree.

An immediate risk of harm means there must be a present serious safety risk.  If the danger is not immediate then the tree is not covered by this exemption to the need to obtain consent for the works to the tree from the District Council, and a formal application for the works or felling of the tree would need to be submitted to us.   Minimal works to render the tree safe must be carried out under this exception to needing our formal consent, and so it may be possible to carry out other works to the tree that remove an immediate risk of harm (if such harm exists). 

This can be only done without going through an application process if the tree or branch is deemed dangerous. If this is the case you must inform the District Council by giving written notice via email to development.control@nwleicestershire.gov.uk and you must provide evidence of the hazard to the District Council.  Such evidence includes photographs of the damage and the District Council will provide confirmation within 5 days. 

You (or the owner or person(s) carrying out the works to the protected tree) should also keep your own records of evidence, should you be challenged so that you can prove the works undertaken were necessary in the interests of safety to make the tree safe.  The District Council also maintains a record of all reported and confirmed dangerous trees/branches.  

The consent of the tree owner will also be required before any works are carried out to a protected tree under the five day exemption process. 

Persons who own and/ or carry out works to protected trees under the guise of safety works without notification to the District Council and sending in evidence could be liable to prosecution.

Trees Blocking your Light and High Hedges

In England there are no restrictions regarding tree height, no rights to light in respect of vegetation, no rights to TV reception or a view.  In general if a neighbour’s tree is blocking your light you can't force them to cut it down or prune the tree, however there is legislation to deal with this issue for some high evergreen or semi-evergreen hedges if they are deemed to be "high hedges"  Please see the Council's webpage on High Hedges.  Please contact the Council's Environmental Health Team for more information.  There is legislation to deal with this issue; details can be viewed on the Government's website.

Trees Overhanging your Property

If a neighbour's tree of hedge is growing over into your property and is not protected (see list 1-3 above) you are not able to make them cut it back, but you do have the right to remove any remove overgrowing branches yourself, but only back to the common boundary (eg. your fence) and any cuttings must be offered back to the tree or hedge owner.  This does not give you permission to go on to your neighbours land to undertake the cutting back.  

Roadside Trees

Trees on roadside verges, roundabouts and pavements are usually the responsibility of Leicestershire County Council who are also responsible for monitoring privately owned roadside trees and liaising with tree owners when maintenance works are required.

The Highway Authority are also responsible for monitoring privately owned roadside trees and liaising with tree owners when maintenance works are required.   The County Council’s website contains more information about this and how to contact them.

Council and Parish Council Owned Trees

The Council's Parks Team manage trees in the Council's Parks and Open Spaces, whilst Parish and Town Council's are responsible for their own Parks and Open Spaces.

Woodland Trees

The Forestry Commission regulates the felling of trees in woodlands and it is an offence to fell trees without a licence, if an exemption does not apply. More information can be found on the Forestry Commission's website

Further Tree Information

The Woodland Trust site contains a wide range of information on trees, including a Guide to Native and Non-Native Trees.

Hedgerows

Under the terms of the Hedgerow Regulations 1997, you also need our approval for the removal (in whole or in part) of hedgerows where they are on, or run alongside:

  • agricultural land
  • common land
  • land used for forestry
  • land used for the breeding or keeping of horses, ponies or donkeys
  • a Local Nature Reserve or Site of Special Scientific Interest (details of LNRs and SSSIs can be viewed on the Natural England website).

This is simply a general guide to the circumstances in which approval is required. Further advice is  on the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) website.

To apply to carry out work to a hedgerow the relevant form, download and complete a Hedgerow Removal Notice and guidance notes.

Last updated: Fri 16 February, 2024 @ 16:54