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Tree preservation orders and high hedges

Tree preservation orders (TPOs) are used to protect selected trees. TPOs are usually made if the removal of a tree or group of trees would have a significant impact on the environment or public enjoyment.

If you wish to carry out any works to a protected tree you need to apply to us for permission. This includes:

  • pruning
  • lopping
  • felling
  • gutting of roots

Apply for permission to work on a protected tree

Alternatively, download the application form below. Please read the validation notes to ensure you provide all the required information.

Application for tree works (PDF, 584.00 KB)

Validation notes (PDF, 82.06 KB)

Any applications to carry out work to protected trees which are alleged to be involved in damage to buildings and/or other structures (such as drains, paths or walls) must be supported by technical evidence.

The maximum penalty for carrying out unauthorised works to trees with a TPO is £20,000. In serious cases, a person may be tried at the Crown Court and, if convicted, is liable to an unlimited fine.

For general enquiries about trees or trees on council property please contact Tree Services (arboricultural services).

If you would like the council to consider placing a tree preservation order (TPO) on a tree or trees, please contact us with:

  • details of the tree(s)
  • the location
  • why you consider a TPO is needed
  • your contact details

High hedges Toggle accordion

If you are in dispute with a neighbour over a high hedge, you can contact us as a last resort. It is important that first you discuss the problem with your neighbour. If this is difficult, you should discuss it with an independent mediator or third party. If you can't agree on a solution, you can submit a formal complaint to us. We'll decide if the hedge is adversely affecting the reasonable enjoyment of your home.

We can order the owner to reduce the height of their hedge. There is a right of appeal against any decision made. Failure to comply with an order to reduce a hedge can result in a fine.

To make a formal complaint, you must be able to prove that all other attempts to resolve the dispute have failed. If you can't, then we can refuse to accept the complaint.

The government has published a range of guidance on high hedges and how to avoid or resolve disputes without involving the council. The documents can be downloaded below.

Over the Garden Hedge (PDF, 1.04 MB)

Hedge height and light loss (PDF, 499.70 KB)

Making a complaint about high hedges

Download the complaint form below and send it to us.

High hedges complaint form (PDF, 198.28 KB)

High hedges guidance notes (PDF, 58.99 KB)

The following guidance, published by the government, might be useful.

High hedges complaining to the Council (PDF, 1.98 MB)

High hedges appealing against a decision (PDF, 951.44 KB)

It costs £350 to submit a high hedges complaint. You will not get this money back, whatever the outcome.

Trees in conservation areas Toggle accordion

Trees in conservation areas receive a similar level of protection to trees protected by Tree Preservation Orders. If you wish to fell, lop or top or uproot trees within a conservation area, you must give us six weeks’ notice in writing. It is an offence to carry out the work within that period without our agreement.

Details of protected trees Toggle accordion

If you want to know if a tree in Barking and Dagenham is protected by a Tree Preservation Order, if it’s in a conservation area or if you are concerned that a tree is under threat, please contact us.

Please provide as much information as possible with your inquiry:

  • your name, email address and phone number
  • the address for the tree (house number, street name and postcode)
  • the location of the tree (eg front garden or on public highway)
  • if the property is privately owned or if it is owned by the council
  • the work you propose carrying out to the tree
  • if a current planning permission applies to the site where the tree is located

Dangerous trees (or parts of trees) subject to a TPO Toggle accordion

Except in an emergency, you should give the council at least five days’ notice before:

  • cutting down a protected tree which is dying, dead or dangerous
  • removing dead, dying or dangerous timber from an otherwise healthy tree

In an emergency, if it is not possible to give the council five days notice, you are advised to provide photographic evidence and a report from a tree surgeon verifying that the tree was dangerous.

This is in your interest, because you could be prosecuted if we think you have carried out unauthorised work.

Please note that the landowner has a duty to plant a replacement tree in the same place.

If you have any concerns about the safety of a protected tree or a highway tree, please contact:

Barking and Dagenham Direct

020 8215 3000

Trees subject to planning conditions Toggle accordion

Where planning permission has been granted, trees may be protected as a condition of that permission. Any works to such trees will require consent from the council. An application for a variation of the planning condition may be required.

Birds and bats Toggle accordion

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes it an offence to kill, injure, or take wild birds, their young, their eggs or nests. It is also an offence to disturb birds at the nest.

It is advisable to avoid carrying out any works to trees, hedges and dense shrubs between March and September. Where works are essential between March and September, a survey by a qualified ecologist should take place no more than five days before the planned works to determine if nesting birds are present.

If a nesting bird is discovered once works have started, work should cease immediately until the nesting season is over.

Bats

Bats are European Protected Species and are protected by the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). It is an offence to kill, injure, or take, any bat. It is also an offence to interfere with places used by bats for shelter or protection, or to intentionally disturb bats occupying such places.

The presence of bats or bat roosts is not always obvious and it is recommended that you consult a qualified bat surveyor. The Bat Conservation Trust and the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management can provide lists of suitable consultants.

If a bat is discovered once works have started, work should cease immediately, and the licensed bat worker and Natural England called for advice.

More information about bat protection can be found at GOV.UK.