Pre-application advice for work on protected trees

Before making a formal application or notification to carry out works to protected trees, you may find it useful to get advice from the council's arboricultural officers. Protected trees are those covered by Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs), planning conditions or situated in Conservation Areas.

This is a paid for service, the current charge for a visit is £88.

Advice given

It gives you an opportunity to understand how government guidance, good practice guidelines and our policies will be applied to your proposal and you can identify potential problems and sort them out before an application/notification is submitted. This can help prevent time-consuming amendments later:

  • It may indicate that an application/notification is not necessary or has little or no realistic chance of success, saving you considerable time.
  • It may lead to a reduction in time spent in amending your proposals.
  • It can identify at an early stage whether any additional specialist advice is necessary (eg. subsidence and ecology)
  • We can discuss with you, details of the proposal to help you prepare a better planning application so we can process it more quickly and provide you with a decision sooner.
  • General concerns you may have over the health and condition of the trees can be addressed.

In order for us to be able to provide the best possible service a charge is made for the provision of this advice. This is a fixed minimum fee of £88.

This covers up to a 30 minute site visit to inspect the tree(s) and to provide a written recommendation for any appropriate works. Recommendations are based on a non-climbing visual inspection of the tree(s) carried out by a qualified arboriculturist and will reflect the council's policy and accepted good practice in regard to tree care.  Please note that we can only inspect parts of the tree which are visible, so if there are any obstructions or ivy growing up the stem, it may limit the extent of the inspection.  Ivy can be severed at the base, being careful not to cut into the bark of the tree, and allowed to die back.

We can usually inspect up to 6 trees on any single property within the 30 minute period, but if you have a requirement for more trees to be inspected then further time may need to be allowed. Please advise us if you wish us to inspect more than 6 trees, so that we may inform you of any revised charges.

Payments via credit/debit card may be made over the phone, or an invoice issued which you can pay online.

Please note that no meeting will be booked until the necessary fee has been received.

Any advice given by council officers following pre-application enquiries does not constitute a decision of the council in respect of any future applications. Any views or opinions expressed are given in good faith, and to the best of ability, based on existing policies and standards, without prejudice to the formal consideration of any future planning application. The final decision on any application that you may then make can only be taken after the council has consulted local people, statutory consultees and other interested parties as appropriate. The final decision on an application may be made by the Head of Planning or the Council's Development Control Panel.

It follows that officers cannot give guarantees about the final decision that will be made on any future planning application. However, any pre-application advice that has been provided will be carefully considered in reaching a decision or recommendation on an application, subject to the proviso that circumstances and information may change and so alter that position. (The weight given to pre-application advice recommendations will inevitably decline over time and little or no weight may be given to the Council's pre-application advice for proposals which are submitted more than one year after the advice is issued).