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Is My Tree Protected? How To Check And What To Do Next

Updated: Feb 25, 2023

You might be forgiven for thinking that if you own a tree then you can do as you please to it, however just because a tree is on your land, it doesn’t automatically mean you can cut it. Before carrying out any tree works, you should check that you are not in a Conservation Area and that there are no Tree Preservation Orders (TPO’s) on the trees in question. If your tree is protected by either of these then you will need to apply to the council for permission to carry out the proposed specification. Carrying out works to protected trees without giving the required notice or receiving council approval can leave you liable for a hefty fine ranging from £2,500 to £20,000 depending on the extent of the damage. If indicted, the fine can actually be unlimited.

For more information on what Conservation Areas and TPOs are and the exceptions where work can be carried out without permission, there is more detail here.

How to check for trees in conservation areas or TPO trees :

Most Councils:

You can find out if a tree has a TPO or is in a conservation area from your local council. The majority of council’s hold this information online making it easily accessible to the public (if you aren’t sure what council you are in or what the correct website is, this is a handy tool that will take you to the correct page of your local authority website. In most cases there is a postcode checker or a maps link on the relevant page where you can check your property. If not, there will be contact details for you to get in touch directly to find out. It is usually a quick job to find out.

The Councils we work with:

We have detailed below exactly how to find out if your tree is protected for the councils we do most of our work with below:

Torbay Conservation Areas and TPOs:

To check for Conservation Areas and TPOs in Torbay, use the Find My Nearest map here. Enter your postcode in the location box on the top left of the map, you can then use the drop down ‘service’ box to select either Conservation Area or TPO overlays. Conservation Areas are shown with light red/orange shading, individual TPO’s are shown with tree icons and Area TPOs are shaded in green.

Torbay find my nearest map showing TPOs and TPO Areas
Screenshot of Torbay map showing TPOs and TPO Areas

Teignbridge Conservation Areas and TPOs:

To check for Conservation Areas in Teignbridge, visit this page and enter your postcode, select your address. You will then be shown a map, which will indicated whether your property is in a conservation area. Conservation Areas are shaded in light red.

To check for TPO’s in Teignbridge, visit this page and follow the same process as above. Individual TPO’s are indicated with a grey circle with a black dot in the middle, group TPOs/TPO areas are shaded in grey.

Exeter Conservation Areas and TPOs:

A map can be found here to check for both Conservation Areas and TPO’s in Exeter. To check your tree, enter the relevant address/postcode in the search box in the top left of the map. Conservation areas and TPO layers should automatically be applied, but you can double check by selecting the layers icon from the panel on the left and check they are selected. Conservation Areas are shaded in blue, TPOs are shown with green dots.

Exeter map showing Conservation Area shading and TPOs
Screenshot of Exeter map showing Conservation Area shading and TPOs

My Tree is Protected, What Now?

If you find that your tree is protected, you will need to apply to the council for permission before carrying out tree works. There are some exemptions, you can read more about these here.

You can submit the application yourself here. In most cases, we would recommend using a certified Arborist who can ensure correct tree identification, terminology and specifications are given.

The Tree Man Arborists are experienced in liaising with the local council and carrying out applications on behalf of our clients. If you would like further advice or to book a quote, please do get in touch or book a free, no obligation appointment here.


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