Tree Preservation Orders and Trees in a Conservation Area

  1. Please note, trees located on Council land are protected via the Newcastle City Council Tree Strategy and only Council tree surgeons in the NCC Arbor and Grounds Maintenance team can undertake work to these trees. Please refer to our Envirocall Services Report Tree form webpage for further information. This includes how to report dead, damaged, diseased or Council trees causing an obstruction. Newcastle City Council, Envirocall Services, Report Tree form: https://envirocallservice.newcastle.gov.uk/trees/form
  2. The Tree Preservation Order data shown on the map, while based upon our register, is not the legal document and is supplied for information purposes only. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the data, Tree Preservation Orders are subject to change and amendment and we will not accept any liability sustained as a result of reliance on this data.

 

 

Newcastle's trees and woodlands are an important feature of our landscape and townscape, making our city greener and healthier. To make sure that our trees remain for all to enjoy, Newcastle City Council have statutory powers to protect trees which are of high amenity value. We do this in three ways:

  • Tree Preservation Orders
  • Conservation Areas
  • Planning Conditions

This page gives advice on protected trees. For the following other tree issues please contact Envirocall:

  • trees on Council land including verges, green spaces and parks
  • trees in council house gardens
  • street trees

If your query is about high evergreen hedges, they are covered by the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003. Please see our pages of High Hedges.

 

What is a Tree Preservation Order?

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) can be placed on single trees, groups of trees and even whole woodlands. If a tree has a TPO you must apply for permission from us before carrying out any work to the trees covered. Unauthorised work to a protected tree is a criminal offence.

 

What type of trees can be covered by a TPO

Anything that would normally be called a "tree" may be covered by a TPO. There is no minimum size, but bushes or shrubs of any size can not be protected. TPOs protect trees that make their local surroundings more attractive. Protected trees should normally be visible from a public place, but in some cases other trees may be protected.

 

Trees in a Conservation Area

All trees with a trunk diameter of 75mm (about 3 inches) or more are protected in a Conservation Area.  You must give six weeks notice before carrying out work to trees in a Conservation Area that are not protected by a TPO. If there is no objection to the work being carried out, then we will let you know, but if we have concerns that the work may be damaging or that the tree should be retained, we will consider giving the tree full protection by issuing a TPO. Unauthorised work to a tree in a Conservation Area is a criminal offence.

 

How do I find out if a tree has a TPO or is in a Conservation Area?

  1. Trees on Council land are protected by the Newcastle City Council Tree Strategy, and only Council tree surgeons in the NCC Arbor and Grounds Maintenance team can undertake work to these trees. Please refer to our Envirocall Services Report Tree form webpage for further information. This includes how to report dead, damaged, diseased or Council trees causing an obstruction. Newcastle City Council, Envirocall Services, Report Tree form: https://envirocallservice.newcastle.gov.uk/trees/form
  2. The Tree Preservation Order data shown on the map, while based upon our register, is not the legal document and is supplied for information purposes only. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the data, Tree Preservation Orders are subject to change and amendment and we will not accept any liability sustained as a result of reliance on this data.
     

When you are buying a property, the presence of a TPO should be shown by the search of the local land charges register. Check here if your property is within a Conservation Area or use the Interactive map above.

If you require a copy of a Tree Preservation Order, please send an e-mail to landscape@newcastle.gov.uk including your address and the TPO reference number.

 

Permitted Development

Sometimes Planning Permission is not needed for a development, this is called Permitted Development. If a protected tree is near to this development you must also think about whether it will be affected by the work. If the answer is yes then you must make an application for this work: this includes any digging near to the roots. Tree roots stretch out at least as far as the tree's canopy and need to be taken into account.

 

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

If you want to carry out works to a protected tree, you must apply for permission in writing – verbal consent for work is not given.  You can do this online via the Planning Portal,  or alternatively forms are available to download here.

You must include a plan showing exactly which trees you wish to work on - this doesn't need to be to scale. You must also show exactly what sort of work you wish to carry out to each tree and the reasons why you wish to carry out the work:  Take a photograph of the tree if possible, and mark on the pruning to be carried out so it is clear what work is applied for.  Certain types of work also need supporting information. For example, if you give the reason for work as being safety or damage to property you will need to give evidence of these problems.

We will write to confirm that we have received your application and will then consider it and let you know the decision within eight weeks (six weeks for a Conservation Area tree).  A site visit is always made.

 

Before you apply

It is best if you discuss your needs with an arborist (tree surgeon) before contacting us. For a TPO tree a member of the Landscape and Ecology Team will be happy to discuss your proposals informally before you complete the form. Early discussion gives us the chance to:

  • explore whether an application is needed;
  • advise on how best to present your proposals; and
  • guide you through the application process and our tree protection policies.

The advice and guidance given to you during these discussions is given in good faith, but no officer can give you a definite answer as to whether your proposed works will be allowed until the application is submitted and considered.  We do not give verbal consent for works.

We cannot recommend a particular tree surgeon, but we can provide some general advice on choosing one. The Arboricultural Association also provides advice.

 

Exemptions from the need to make an application to prune a tree in a Conservation Area or with a Tree Preservation Order

Dead trees and branches, and dangerous trees

Unless work is necessary because there is an immediate risk of serious harm, five working days written notice must be given before cutting down or carrying out other work on a dead tree. You can remove dead branches from a living tree without notice or consent. Where a dead tree is removed, the landowner has a duty to plant a replacement and the species, position and time of planting will need to be agreed.
 Where a tree presents an immediate risk of serious harm and work is urgently needed to remove the risk, tree owners or their agents must give written notice to the authority as soon as they can after the work becomes necessary. Work should only be carried out to make the tree safe. If the danger is not immediate, an application is required.

  • Trees in a dangerous or damaged condition on council land will be responded to within 3 hours to make the site safe. Please note any reports of dangerous trees must be phoned through to 0191 2787878 and ask for "Envirocall.", or at this online form , or see our guidelines here (link) to show in what circumstances we can inspect trees.
     

Work to clear the highway of branches

An application is usually required to prune branches off the highway, unless they are at immediate risk of causing actual damage and in this case, only the ‘minimum of work’ to reduce or remove the risk is allowed.  Please contact Envirocall to report or arrange this.

Work on fruit trees

Unless you are growing fruit trees as part of running a business or trade, an application is required for their pruning.

 

Planning Permission

When planning permission has been granted for a development we may add conditions to the consent which protect the trees before, during and after work takes place. You should check with the planning officer dealing with your application if this is needed.

For work to TPO trees and those in a Conservation Area, if you wish to carry out the same pruning work each year then please make this clear on your application. It may be possible to give permission, for a fixed time, for you to do this without the need for repeat applications/notifications.

 

How to apply to get a tree protected

Generally we issue TPOs where there is evidence that trees are under threat of damage or removal and where they are visible to the public adding to the attractiveness of the area. Anyone who wants a TPO to be considered should contact the Landscape and Ecology Team.

 

Unauthorised work

Unauthorised work to a protected tree is a criminal offence. If you deliberately destroy a protected tree, or damage it in a manner likely to destroy it, you could be liable to an unlimited fine. You could also be fined if you cause or permit such work. Other offences can lead to fines of up to £2,500.  The Council can prosecute when work is carried out on a preserved tree without permission or without the required notice on a tree in a Conservation Area or when exemptions are misused. If you wish to report unauthorised work please contact the Landscape and Ecology Section.

 

Trees and Utilities : Guidance On Working Practices

Trees are important. They provide many benefits - to our health and our environment having social and economic value. The residents of Newcastle and the City Council continue to invest time and money into the planting and care of their stock of trees and people appreciate the contribution trees make to our neighbourhoods.

This guide is designed to help us work with utility companies and contractors carrying out work around trees to ensure that trees are taken into account and not affected by works. It aims to provide good working practices to assist utility companies in planning their activities around trees.

Trees & Utilities : Guidance On Working Practices (pdf, 2.5mb. This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format. )

 

Contact us:

Email: landscape@newcastle.gov.uk

Phone: 0191 278 7878 and ask for Planning

Landscape and Ecology Team
Place Directorate
Civic Centre,
Barras Bridge,
Newcastle upon Tyne,
NE1 8PH

If you would like to report any issues with a Council tree, including those on YHN properties, Please contact Envirocall here or telephone 0191 278 7878 and ask for 'Envirocall.'

 

 

Did you know?

Unauthorised work to a protected tree is a criminal offence. If you deliberately destroy a protected tree, or damage it in a manner likely to destroy it, you could be given an unlimited fine. You could also be fined if you cause or permit such work. Other offences can lead to fines of up to £2,500.  The Council can prosecute when work is carried out on a preserved tree without permission or without the required notice on a tree in a Conservation Area or when exemptions are misused.

If you wish to report unauthorised work please contact the Landscape and Ecology Section.

 

Need more information?

We cannot recommend a particular tree surgeon, but we can provide some general advice on choosing one. The Arboricultural Association also provides advice.

 

If you would like further information on protected trees please see the government's guidance here.

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