Tree preservation

Under planning law, trees may be protected in two ways – trees under preservation orders and trees in conservation areas.

Trees subject to Tree Preservation Orders

A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is a legal order made by local planning authorities to preserve important trees, groups of trees or woodlands. It is illegal to cut down, prune, or otherwise damage a tree protected by a TPO without the Council's consent.

Applications to undertake work to a tree subject to a TPO can be made online via the planning portal.

Upon receipt of your completed application form, the Council will endeavor to make a decision within 8 weeks of the registration date.

While consent from the council is needed to undertake work to a tree under a TPO, the owner of the tree is responsible for its maintenance. The owner of a tree is the owner of the land on which the majority of the stump/base is situated. If a tree is on the boundary of two properties the deeds to those properties should be referenced to establish the property boundaries. If the tree is on land of no apparent ownership, it may be necessary to consult the Land Registry,  which is the government department that keeps records of land ownership, to determine who the land belongs to. You can access the Land Registry here.

It is an offence to carry out any work to a protected tree, destroy or willfully damage a protected tree including causing damage to the roots without permission from the Local Planning Authority (Slough Borough Council).

Trees within a Conservation Area

A Conservation Area is an area of special architectural or historic interest. Making an area a conservation area is intended to protect and preserve the character or appearance of the designated area. Trees often make an important contribution to the appearance of Conservation Areas and so are given special protection.
There are five conservation areas in Slough. These are:

  • Colnbrook
  • St. Bernard's School
  • St. Mary's Church (Langley)
  • Sussex Place/Clifton Road
  • Upton Park/Upton Village Conservation Area

If you wish to prune or fell any tree with a stem over 75mm in diameter (as measured at 1.5m above ground level) within a conservation area, you must give the council notification in writing six weeks before any work can take place.

When the council receives this notice to undertake work to a tree within a conservation area, they have three options. The council can grant consent, allow the 6 week period to expire when the work can be carried out without consent, or if the proposed work is considered unsuitable and the tree is of public amenity, the council will make the tree(s) the subject of a Tree Preservation Order.

Notification to undertake work to a tree subject in a conservation area can be made either online via the Planning Portal, or through a letter.

If submitting a letter, you can email planning@slough.gov.uk or post to:
Development Management
Slough Borough Council
St Martins Place
51 Bath Road, Slough
SL1 3UF

It is an offence to carry out any work to a protected tree, destroy or willfully damage a protected tree including causing damage to the roots without permission from the Local Planning Authority (Slough Borough Council).

Dead and dangerous trees

Any protected tree that is dead and/or imminently dangerous can be removed without the need to submit an application to gain permission from the Council. If a part of a tree poses an imminent danger, such as being split or having a hanging limb, that part which poses the danger may be pruned without first making an application to gain permission.

However, the onus of proof that a tree was dead or imminently dangerous rests with the tree owner. If you plan to remove a tree without an application, and if safe to do so, it is advisable to give the Council five days notice. This will give the Tree officer an opportunity to make a site visit to check that the tree is dead or imminently dangerous and confirm that it can be removed without consent. If the Tree Officer has not visited the site prior to a trees removal it is a good idea to take a photo of the tree which shows its condition.

We are here to help

If you have any doubt about what permission you need, please contact us for advice before starting work.

Contact us

Online
Contact Planning form

Telephone
01753 477340

Address
Planning Department
St Martins Place
51 Bath Road
Slough
SL1 3UF