Trees make an important contribution to the appearance and character of Norwich, as well as being important for wildlife and helping to improve air quality.
Norwich City Council acts as the custodian of many of the city’s trees and a strategy has been produced which sets out how the council will manage, maintain and develop trees in Norwich over the five years of the action plan.
Norwich tree strategy (1.32 Mb pdf)
Important trees are protected by Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs). Trees in conservation areas are also protected.
Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)
Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) are made by Norwich City Council. They can apply to one or more trees, where they make an important contribution to their surroundings and particularly when they are under threat from possible development.
If there is a need to cut down or carry out tree surgery to a tree covered by a TPO, written permission is required by applying to the council. An application form can be downloaded from the link below:
Works to trees application form (261.90 Kb pdf)
Alternatively, you can submit an application online via the Planning Portal website where you can create a site plan and add attachments.
If a protected tree is destroyed or damaged without permission, both the owner and the person responsible can be prosecuted and fined up to £20,000. Other offences carry a fine of up to £2,500.
Where we give permission for a tree covered by a TPO to be removed, you may be required to plant a replacement.
The owners of the land on which there are trees covered by a TPO are responsible for their care. This also applies to trees in conservation areas.
Preservation orders cannot be applied to hedges, shrubs or bushes, even if they are large and visually important.
Trees in conservation areas
Six weeks written notice must be given to planning services before work is done to trees in a conservation area.
Carrying out works to protected trees
Applications for works to trees protected by a TPO are decided within eight weeks. For trees in conservation areas, the period is six weeks.
If you are denied permission to carry out work to a tree with a preservation order on it, you may appeal against the decision to the 1st Secretary of State.
Before carrying out work on any protected tree, ask for specialist advice from an approved tree contractor or the tree protection officer.
Should a tree become dangerous - because of a storm, for example -evidence of the tree's condition must be collected in the first instance, even in an emergency.
If work is to be carried out on a dead, dying or dangerous tree please advise Planning services on 01603 212546. This is to check that there is a good reason to remove the tree and amend the records.
Dead, dying or dangerous trees must be replaced unless otherwise agreed with the TPO.
No other approval is required If the tree to which proposed work is to be carried out is in a private garden. For anywhere else – and if the tree or trees are over five cubic metres (timber volume) – permission will be needed from the Forestry Commission.
Finding out about protected trees
If a TPO has been applied to a tree on a property, the owner will have been informed at the time the order was made. If the purchase of a property is made after the order came into force, the order should be revealed on the property search at the time of purchase.
A tree can be checked to see if it has a preservation order by contacting the tree protection officer on 01603 212546. Planning services keep a register of all orders which is available for inspection. There is also a register of authorised works to protected trees. Please contact the tree protection officer.
Asking for a tree to be protected
If an important tree is believed to be under threat - from neglect or because of development nearby, for instance - a request can be made to the tree protection officer for a preservation order to be placed on the tree(s).
The tree protection officer can be contacted on 01603 212546. Please provide the following information:
- the address where the tree is to be found
- the exact location of the tree within the property
- any information about the type/size of the tree
- the reason for the concern.
The tree protection officer will carry out a tree survey and inspection. This will include a hazard analysis and amenity evaluation, placing a value on the tree as an environmental asset. There is no charge for this.
After the tree has been inspected the council will decide if a preservation order should be made.
If an order is made, notices are served on the owner of the land and the adjoining landowners.
If the order relates to a tree on your property, an objection can be made. If this happens, the proposed order and objection are referred to the planning applications committee which you can attend and have the opportunity to speak to the committee.
If the committee decides to approve the order, there is no right to appeal. Aggrieved parties - with an interest in the matter that can be proven to be sufficiently direct - can make an application to the High Court if:
- the TPO is not within the powers of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990
- the requirements of the 1990 Act or Town and Country (Trees) Planning Regulations 1999 have not been complied with in relation to the Order.
For a full explanation of your rights in such cases please contact an tree protection officer on 01603 212546.