Trees and planning applications

If you are submitting a planning application for a site that has trees located on it or next to it, you will need to provide information concerning the trees and how they will be protected during the development.

When considering planning applications, the council has a statutory duty to protect trees that are worthy of retention by imposing planning conditions. 

All information should meet the requirements detailed in British Standard 5837:2012 Trees In Relation To Design, Demolition and Construction.

Fast-track service

A fast-track service is available for tree applications in a conservation area that meets the criteria in the 'acceptable conservation area pruning' list. 

Information you need to provide

For pre-application consultations you should provide:

  • tree survey
  • tree retention/removal plan
  • consideration for protected wildlife species

For a full planning application you should provide:

  • tree survey
  • arboricultural impact assessment
  • tree retention/removal plan, detailing retained trees and their root protection areas
  • any proposed ground level changes
  • hard and soft landscape design plans including replacement tree planting

For a reserved matters application or planning condition application you should provide:

  • arboricultural method statement
  • details of all special engineering within root protection areas
  • details of utility apparatus and installation
  • schedule of works to retained trees
  • arboricultural site monitoring schedule
  • post-construction remedial works

You do not necessarily require an arboricultural consultant to carry out the above surveys, however by using a professional there is a greater chance of your application meeting the technical requirements and avoiding requests for further information. 

For a list of reputable consultants go to the Arboricultural Association website

Removal of trees from development sites

The council will not consider favourably:

  • applications involving the removal of protected trees or those worthy of preservation
  • applications that require the removal of council-owned trees
  • applications where it is deemed by the council that the development, including subsidiary or enabling works, will result in damage to any tree
  • applications that require unnecessary or excessive pruning works to trees
  • applications that will necessitate increased pruning after construction where this would impact on the long-term health and amenity of a tree

Sites which aim to retain trees and plant new and additional trees will be looked on more favourably.

Plans that fall under permitted development

If a permitted development is likely to lead to damage to tree roots or branches during construction, you must check whether the trees in question are in a conservation area or protected by a tree preservation order (TPO). If they are, you may require permission to do the work through the TPO application process.

Check if your property is within a conservation area

Check for existing TPOs by going to find your nearest and enter your postcode or contact planning services on (020) 8825 6600 or