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Tree preservation orders (TPO)

A tree preservation order (TPO) is a direction made by a local planning authority that makes it an offence to fell, prune, uproot, wilfully damage or destroy a tree without the authority’s permission.  There are over 300 tree preservation orders in Tewkesbury borough protecting trees which contribute to the amenity of the area.

Proposals for development in the vicinity of trees covered by tree preservation orders will be assessed through the planning application process, to ensure that there are minimal adverse impacts on the trees and their wider setting.

Works to trees with a tree preservation order

Consent is needed to do any work to a tree(s) that has a TPO. Applications can be made online via the planning portal website. There is no fee for these applications.

Works to trees in a conservation area

Before carrying out any work to trees in a conservation area notice must be given to the local planning authority six weeks before work to the tree starts. Forms to give notice can be found on the planning portal website. Please note that it is helpful to provide photos of the tree(s) with your application.

Trees that are dead/dangerous or trees that have a diameter of 75mm or less at 1.5m height are exempt and notice is not required.

The six week notice period gives Tewkesbury borough council time to assess if the tree is worthy of TPO status.

Felling licence

Control of tree felling is administered by the Forestry Commission’s licensing system.

An application must be made to the Forestry Commission if more than five cubic meters of timber is to be felled from a land holding in any calendar quarter year. If that timber is to be sold, the amount reduces to two cubic meters. Five cubic meters of timber is roughly equivalent to one large deciduous tree or four to five conifers. This requirement applies even if the trees are in a conservation area or are subject to a TPO.


Hedgerows on non-domestic land (i.e. around fields and along roadsides) are usually protected by the Hedgerow Regulations 1997. Hedges around and within gardens are normally exempt from the hedgerow regulations.

A hedgerow removal notice should be submitted by anyone proposing to remove a hedgerow, or part of a hedgerow, covered by the Hedgerow Regulations 1997. Applications can be made online via the planning portal website.

High hedges

Part 8 of the anti-social behaviour act gives councils powers to deal with formal complaints about high hedges. The legislation makes it clear that a council can only become involved once all attempts at negotiation have been exhausted.

For trees to be considered a “high hedge” they must be:

  • made up of a row of two or more trees
  • more than two meters in height
  • evergreen or semi-evergreen
  • growing on land owned by someone else

If any of the above apply, you can make a formal complaint to us under the high hedges legislation as set out in Part 8 of the Antisocial Behaviour Act 2003. Your complaint will be considered using standard government guidance set out in a document called hedge height and light loss. If your complaint is successful, we will determine an action height to which the height of the hedge must be reduced.

A fee of £500 or £100 to benefit recipients, must be paid by the person making the high hedge complaint.

Before making a formal complaint, you must have taken all reasonable steps to try to settle your dispute. It is always better to settle a dispute about trees amicably and it is recommended that you try to resolve it by talking to your neighbours first.