Your trees might be protected by a tree preservation order – also known as a TPO – or they might be protected if they’re in a conservation area. You should check if this is the case on our interactive map before you do any work.
You can search to see if anybody has applied to carry out work on a protected tree and if we have given permission.
Find out how we take trees into consideration when deciding planning applications in general.
Tree preservation orders – TPOs
A tree preservation order prevents you from cutting down, uprooting, topping, lopping, and wilfully damaging or destroying a tree without our written permission. If we give permission, you may have to follow certain conditions.
Click here to find out how to request a tree preservation order.
Trees in a conservation area
Trees in a conservation area that are not covered by a TPO are protected in law – section 211 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
This law means you have to give us six weeks notice before carrying out certain works on these trees, unless an exception applies. This six-week period is to give us time to consider if the tree should be protected, covered by a TPO.
You can go ahead with the work before the end of the six-week period if we give you permission.
Applying for works to protected trees
Tree works application
To apply to carry out works to protected trees go to the planning portal to fill out an online application form or download a paper form, please use the government guidance note for assistance in filling out the form correctly. Further information about the application process can be found on the Planning Portal.
Pre-application advice – Please note our forestry pre-application advice service has been temporarily suspended, we hope to be in a position to resurrect this service in the near future. Please keep an eye on our website for an update on this.
Before you apply to carry out any tree works you may wish to speak to us first for pre-application advice. The charges for this service are set out on our pre-application charges sheet.
There are other rules covering trees you should be aware of before you carry out any work. For example, you might need a licence to cut down trees in woodland, and some plants and the habitats of some animals are also protected.
If you intend to remove all or part of a countryside hedgerow, you may need consent from the council to do so under the Hedgerow Regulations 1997. You do not need consent to remove a hedgerow that forms part of a domestic boundary (i.e. a garden hedgerow).
It is recommended that you contact the council at the earliest opportunity to obtain advice. You may be required to submit a Hedgerow Removal Notice application form which has associated guidance. The Countryside team can be contact on 01235 422600
Concerned about trees near you?
If you think illegal works are being undertaken to protected trees, please contact the Forestry Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01235 422600.
Alternatively, if you are worried that building work is taking place and trees on that site aren’t being suitably protected please contact our Planning Enforcement team.
Get involved in tree planting
Our our page on Tree Planting in South Oxfordshire has lots of information about how you can get involved in tree planting projects, what to do if you want to set up your own project, and how you can apply to plant tree on council land.
For details about trees in district council owned parks please see our Parks section.
There is much more information on the government’s website.