Carrying out work on trees

Trees in the Harborough district are owned and maintained by different organisations and individuals:

  • Trees in some public spaces are maintained by Harborough District Council
  • Trees on pavements and roadsides are maintained by Leicestershire County Council
  • Trees on private land, such as your or a neighbour’s property, are the land owner’s responsibility

Trees may also be protected by a conservation area or Tree Preservation Order

Trees on pavements and roadsides

Trees on roadsides and verges in the Harborough district are maintained by Leicestershire County Council. You can request Leicestershire County Council carry out work on trees on pavements and roadsides.

Fallen tree blocking a road? Report online or telephone Leicestershire County Council on 0116 305 0001

Trees in public spaces

Many trees in public spaces in the Harborough district are maintained by Harborough District Council, this includes trees in parks and gardens.

You can request work is carried out on the trees we own.

Read our policies for work on council owned trees.

Trees on private land

Trees on private land, such as your own or a neighbour’s property are the responsibility of the land owner.

You can trim branches or roots that cross into your property from a neighbour’s property or a public road. You can only trim up to the property boundary. If you do more than this, your neighbour could take you to court for damaging their property.

If you believe there is an issue with a tree on private land you can speak to the land owner to try and resolve the problem. Read a guide to resolving disputes with neighbours.

If you live in a conservation area, or the trees in the hedge are protected by a Tree Preservation Order you will need to tell us about the work you would like to carry out.

Protected trees

Works to trees and hedgerows may require permission. If a tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), or is situated in a designated conservation area, in most cases you will need to obtain consent from us before carrying out any works to that tree.

Trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order

We protect specific trees and woodland from deliberate damage and destruction. They are legally protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), you can find out if a tree is protected by contacting us. As with owners of unprotected trees, they are responsible for maintaining their trees, with no statutory rules setting out how often or to what standard maintenance is carried out to, the Local Planning Authority cannot require maintenance work to be done to a tree just because it is protected.

You should take advice from competent arboricultural consultants regarding responsibilities and options for tree maintenance and work. Apart from limited exceptions, permission must be sought from the Local Planning Authority by completing an application for tree works online or using the paper form here. You can find out what to include as part of your application here

Applications for works to trees protected by a TPO can take up to 8 weeks to determine.

Requesting a new Tree Preservation Order

More information about requesting a TPO be made on a specific tree can be found here, any request should be made in writing.

Trees protected by a conservation area

Trees in conservation areas also have some protection and permission to carry out work on them is required. You can view a list of our Conservation Areas here. Trees in a conservation area that are already protected by a TPO are subject to the normal procedures for trees protected by a TPO.

Anyone proposing to cut down or carry out most work on trees protected by a conservation area is requires to give the council 6 weeks prior notice of tree work, this is legally known as a 'section 211 notice'. There are exceptions to requiring permission, these can be found here and include:

  • Work carried out by, or on our behalf;
  • Work carried out by, or on behalf of the Forestry Commission on land in which it has an interest; or
  • Work on a tree with a diameter not exceeding 75mm, or 100mm if cutting down trees to improve the growth of other trees such as thinning operation. In both cases the diameter of the tree is to be measures over the bark of the tree at 1.5 metres above ground level.

The 6 weeks notice period gives the Local Planning Authority the opportunity to consider whether to make a TPO. And we will deal with your request to carry out work on protected trees in a conservation area (section 211 notice) in one of 3 ways:

  1. Make a Tree Preservation Order if justified - the proposed works to the tree would then have to be the subject of a formal application under the Tree Preservation Order
  2. Decide not to make a Tree Preservation Order and allow the 6 week period to expire, at which point the proposed work may go ahead as long as it is carried out within 2 years from the date of the notice
  3. Decide not to make a Tree Preservation Order and inform the applicant that the work can go ahead

Permission must be sought from the Local Planning Authority by completing an application for tree works online or using the paper form here. You can find out what to include as part of your application here.

Dead or dangerous trees and branches

Dead trees

If a tree is protected by a TPO or conservation area and is dead, unless work is urgently necessary because there is an immediate risk of serious harm, you must give 5 working days prior notice to us before cutting down or carrying out other work on a dead tree. You can however remove dead branches from a living tree without prior notice or consent.

Dangerous trees or branches

Where a tree or its branches protected by a TPO or conservation area present an immediate risk of serious harm and work is urgently needed to remove that risk, tree owners (or their agents) must give written notice to us. Work should only be carried out to the extent necessary to remove the risk. You should always check with us whether we deem the risk to be an immediate risk of serious harm prior to carrying out work. Please be aware if the danger is not immediate the tree does not come within the meaning of the exception, normally you will need to undertake the normal works to trees application. You can find our more information here.

 

If you would like to make a 5 days notice or check whether you can carry out works to a trees that are dangerous you must do so in writing, your notice should be accompanied with photos which show the reasoning for this request. You can make this request by email to planning@harborough.gov.uk.