Protected trees

Tree preservation orders

Tree Preservation Orders are used to protect trees of a high public amenity which contribute to and/or enhance the surrounding landscape. A Tree Preservation Order may cover any type of tree including; single, group, woodland trees or hedgerow trees. The order will specify the location and species covered by the order and the property or properties affected.

Fifty-two areas in Peterborough are protected by Tree Preservation Orders, which equates to 320 groups of trees, 23 woodlands and approximately 2,370 individual trees, which include trees on private land. The existence of an order affecting a property does not automatically mean all trees at that address or site are protected.  Further information is available from Communities and Local Government

Trees in a conservation area

Trees in a  conservation area are also protected if their stem diameter is 7.5cm or more when measured at 1.5m above ground level. To find out if your property is within a conservation area please use the maps provided on the conservation areas page.

Before you carry out work on trees

To find out if any particular tree is protected please contact us.

If the tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order or is located within a conservation area you will need to submit an application to carry out work on protected trees. If you carry out work, or allow work to be carried out to a protected tree which results in damage without permission you could face a fine of an unlimited sum and be ordered to replace the tree.

The processing time for an applications are:

  • six weeks for trees within a conservation area, and
  • eight weeks for trees subject to a Tree Preservation Order.

Permission for emergency work

If a protected tree is dead or causing a danger then the normal application process can be waived, but you must give the council five days’ notice of your intention to carry out the work along with evidence.

If the tree is causing an immediate danger, for example, it is about to fall and could cause damage or injury, then you can carry out work without giving notice.

In both cases evidence would be required to prove that the tree was either dead or causing a danger. Unsatisfactory proof could result in prosecution. The proof should include either photographs, a tree surgeons report and/or independent witness statements.

For more information, please contact us.

Removal of hedgerows

Under the Hedgerows Regulations 1997 it is against the law to remove most countryside hedgerows without permission. If you remove a hedgerow without permission you may face an unlimited fine. You may also have to replace the hedgerow.

Hedgerows are protected if they are at least 30 years old and located on or next to:

  • land used for agriculture
  • common land, including town or village greens
  • land used for forestry or the breeding or keeping horses, ponies or donkeys
  • a local nature reserve or a site of special scientific interest

Hedgerows are not protected if they are:

  • shorter than 20 metres (unless both ends join up with other hedgerows or it is part of a longer hedgerow) or
  • in or bordering your garden

You need written permission from us to remove protected hedgerows. To do this you must apply for permission to remove a hedgerow we have 6 weeks to respond to your applicationFor more information, please contact us.

Nuisance trees and hedges

For the most part issues with trees that are overhanging property boundaries or blocking sunlight are not ones in which the council has any power to be involved. These will be civil disputes between land owners and as such we recommend that you work together to reach an amicable solution or if necessary seek independent legal advice.

In limited circumstances we can investigate complaints about high hedges that are over two metres tall and consist of two or more trees that are predominantly evergreen or semi-evergreen.

A charge of £650 is payable for the council to investigate this for you. For more information, please call 01733 747474.

For nuisance or safety concerns, please also see our tree management page.