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Reigate and Banstead Borough Council

Town Hall

Castlefield Road




Tree works application

This page provides information about trees and tree protection, with forms to download to make a tree works application.

The Local Planning Authority is responsible for the legal controls involved in the management of trees that are formally protected by Tree Preservation Orders, Conservation Areas and trees protected by Planning Conditions throughout the Borough.

Legislation provides formal protection to trees located on private land within the Borough. This protection can take the form of Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) which can provide protection to individual trees, groups, areas of trees and woodlands. Trees located within Conservation areas and trees protected by planning conditions

Trees that are subject to formal protection will require formal application to and consent from the Local Planning Authority before any pruning or felling works are undertaken. 

Some pruning and felling works are considered exempt from the legislation, these works should be checked and agreed by the Council’s Tree Officer prior to being undertaken.

But these works will normally only involve the felling of dead trees and the removal of deadwood from living trees. The onus is placed upon the tree owner or the tree contractor to prove that the works to protected trees are exempt.

Notification of intent to undertake tree works in a Conservation Area

All trees in conservation areas over 75mm in diameter measured at 1.5m from ground level are subject to formal protection and a notification to the Local Planning Authority is required.

The notification period is six weeks and the applicant should not undertake any tree works within this period. 

If at the end of the six week notification period the Local Authority have decided not to serve a Tree Preservation Order, tree works may proceed.

Tree works applications, tree preservation orders and planning conditions

Guidance and advice about what you need to submit a tree work application can be found below.

The Council would encourage the use of reputable tree surgery contractors to assist in the preparation and submission of tree work applications. Guidance on the use of tree surgery contractors can be obtained from the

Appeals against the Council's decision on tree works applications

If you are aggrieved at a decision taken by the Council, or any of the conditions imposed or certification of the decision by this Council, you may appeal to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. 

Such an appeal should be in writing within twenty-eight days of the receipt of this decision notice, or such longer period as the Secretary of State may allow.

In respect of an appeal the necessary form and other details can be obtained from:

The Planning Inspectorate, Environment Team, 4/04 Kite Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN

Tel: 0117 372 8192
Fax: 0117 372 6241
Website: Tree Planning Appeals (The Planning Inspectorate website)

Tree preservation orders

The Council receives requests from the public to serve preservation orders on trees that are generally felt to be under threat of removal. 

Request details should be made in writing to the Tree Officer and should provide information on the tree its species, location and the reason that the tree is considered to merit formal protection.

The council will acknowledge the request in writing and will assess the tree. Not all trees all trees will meet the strict criteria for formal protection and a Tree Preservation Order cannot simply be used to prevent development. 

Once the assessment has been undertaken a priority will be given to the service of the order and this is often based on the potential threat to the tree. Legal service of an order is followed by a 28 day objection period. In this period any of the persons served with the order, with a legal interest, has the right to object to the order.

If no objections are received the order is legally confirmed.

If the order is opposed a report is prepared to address the objections raised this matter is dealt with by the Head of Building and Development Services and/or the Development Quality Manager. Authorisation is sought to either confirm the order, confirm subject to modification, or decide not to confirm the order, subject to modification having taken into account any valid reasons of objection.

For a guide to the law and best practice on Tree Preservation Orders, information can be obtained from the Local Authority’s Tree Officers or see Tree Preservation Orders and trees in conservation areas (external link).  

The Council strongly recommends that before any tree works be undertaken the tree owner and contractor should check with the Local Authority’s Help Line to ascertain whether the tree is subject to formal protection.

If you require any information, guidance or advice about tree pruning and management, please contact the Council.

Tree preservation order request form

Advice for private tree owners

  • always contact the Local Authority to ensure that the trees are not protected by a Tree Protection Order, planning constraints, that they are not protected because within a Conservation Area, or that Planning Conditions do not apply.
  • always employ a suitable trained professional Tree Surgeon (Arborists), who should be fully covered by the necessary insurance, including Employers and Public Liability Insurance. (Please request proof of cover).
  • never employ house callers or leaflet droppers claiming to be professional tree surgeons.
  • reputable Tree Surgeons (Arborists) will always have some form of professional identification and qualification proof. Always ask to see it.   

Reputable Tree Surgeons can be found in the Directory of Registered Consultants and Approved Contractors produced by The Arboricultural Association who can be contacted 

Unauthorised works to formally protected trees can result in legal action being taken against the owner by the Local Authority, leading to a criminal prosecution. The maximum penalty for carrying out works to TPO trees without consent is £20,000.

Last updated : 02/07/2014

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