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Trees and hedges

Find out about trees within a Conservation Area or those covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) and how to apply for works to them.


Tree Preservation Orders (TPO)

The council has the power to protect trees by making Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs). Tree Preservation Orders make it an offence to top, lop, fell or uproot a protected tree without the council's permission. It also an offence to carry out such works to any tree in a Conservation Area without giving proper notice to the district council.

All types of trees can be protected including hedgerow trees if they have amenity value, but not hedges, bushes or shrubs. The order can cover anything from a single tree to large areas of woodland. You can search for any trees covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) using our MyUttlesford mapping feature.

Find trees protected by Tree Preservation Orders ►

Details of existing TPOs are also available for inspection at the Council Offices, London Road, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB11 4ER.

Orders dated before 1974 were made by Essex County Council and applications to carry out works to trees covered by pre 1974 orders will be determined by the the County Council. Contact details for the County Council arboricultural team can be found on the Essex County Council website trees and wildlife pages.

Where a tree is not protected by a TPO and it is under threat from works that are likely to cause it significant damage, you should contact the council as soon as possible. An assessment will then be made as to whether the tree is of significant enough value for a TPO to be served.

Trees in conservation areas

A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historical interest. It is important to preserve and enhance the special character of such areas. Trees are an essential element in the distinctive character of these areas and because of this there are general safeguards within conservation areas. You must give the council six weeks' notice in writing (this is called a Section 211 notification) if you want to carry out work on trees within a conservation area that are not protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). However you do not need permission if you want to cut down or work on an unprotected tree within a conservation area that has a trunk diameter of less than 7.5 centimetres (measured at 1.5 metres above the ground) or 10 centimetres if thinning to help the growth of other trees.

Find conservation areas ►

Applying  to carry out work to a protected tree

If you wish to carry out work to a tree protected by a Tree Preservation Order  or a tree in a conservation area you must apply for permission. There are certain limited exceptions to this, for example, where you need to make a tree or part of a tree safe in an emergency.

Your application for any works to a preserved tree must be submitted on the correct form. You will also need to send us some other information:

  • A plan which identifies the tree or trees to which the application relates
  • What you want to do
  • Why you want to do the work
  • Any appropriate evidence describing any structural damage to property or in relation to tree health or safety

You can either apply for works via the planning Portal or by using our pdf forms.

Apply for tree works via the Planning Portal ►

Application for tree works: Works to subject to a tree preservation order (TPO) and/or notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area pdf icon Application for tree works: Works to subject to a tree perseveration order (TPO) and/or notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area (Editable pdf file) [580kb] Guidance [98kb]

Permission for works to a protected tree

If we give you permission to carry out works to a protected tree it will often be subject to certain conditions. This will usually set a time limit of two years during which time you must complete the works. It will also require you to ensure that the work must conform to the relevant British Standard (BS:3998, 1989 Recommendations for Tree Works). More information about British Standards can be found on the British Standards website.

For a list of approved contractors please contact the Arboricultural Association by telephoning 01242 522152 or by email at

More information and the Good Practice Guide is available from the GOV.UK site.

Dying dead or dangerous trees

Except in an emergency you should give the council at least five days' notice before you cut down a protected tree which is dying, dead or dangerous or remove dead dying or dangerous timber from an otherwise healthy tree. You could face prosecution if the council considers you have carried out unauthorised work. You have a duty to provide evidence that the tree was dead, dying or dangerous.

Trees on council land

Trees can be found on many of the properties and sites managed by the council. The council recognises that trees, woodlands and hedgerows make a significant contribution to the attractiveness and distinctiveness of the Uttlesford countryside and the district's towns and villages. Trees are also important for wildlife providing food and shelter for a variety of animals and other plants. Please report any problems with trees on land belonging to this council to us.  Trees adjacent to the highways or footpaths are normally the responsibility of Essex County Council's Highway Department.

Reporting tree problems

Trees on land belonging to Uttlesford District Council

You can report an unsafe tree using our online service form or call us.

Report an unsafen tree on council land ►

Telephone: 01799 510510

Trees on the highway or a public footpath

Trees adjacent to the highways or footpaths are normally the responsibility of Essex County Council's Highway Department.  Telephone: 08457 430430 or report the problem online.


Under the Hedgerow Regulation 1997 it is unlawful to remove or destroy certain hedgerows without permission from the Council.

This legislation is extremely complicated and only applies in certain situations. Permission is required, for example, before removing hedges that are 20metres or more in length (or of lesser length if the hedge is connected to other hedges), over 30 years old and either of historic importance , supports a number of woody species or is of wildlife value as defined under the Regulations.

Properly undertaken management of a hedge does not require permission. Residential hedges are also not covered by these Regulations.

Application forms, checklists and guidance notes for for s hedgerow removal notice can be found on the Planning Application Forms and Checklists page.

High hedges

If you would like to complain about the height of a hedge, please read this leaflet first: pdf icon Complaining to the council - High Hedges [394kb]

You can also find guidance on the website and the relevant legislation can be found here.

If you still wish to complain, the High Hedges complaint form and guidance notes can be found on the Planning Application Forms and Checklists page.


Additional information

Tree Preservation Orders and trees in conservation areas on GOV.UK

The Town and Country Planning (Trees) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2008

Contact Planning

If you need further guidance on applying for planning permission, please see our planning advice page.