How simple is to cut down a tree on my own land?

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Since Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) have been in place there appears to be some confusion as to whether you can cut down a tree which is on your property.

The truth is you are allowed to prune or have a tree cut down within your boundaries, whether it is healthy or not, as long as it is not subject to a Tree Preservation Order or sitting within a conservation area.

TPOs are in place by local authorities to help protect trees which are viewed as beneficial or valuable to its immediate environment, and in these circumstances permission is needed to either carry out any pruning or removal work. It appears we all think there is a solid protection on all Oak trees – this is not always the case. Orders are in place depending upon the location of the tree and the tree’s immediate surroundings, and it can relate to any species of trees.

TPOs can apply to trees which are on private land and additionally open land so it’s vital to check with your local council before proceeding ahead with any work. The costs of ignoring an Order are severe with fines up to £20,000.

If you decide the work is in need of a professional tree surgeon, they will communicate with the council on benefit of yourself to see if the said tree is subject to TPO before starting removal or pruning works. If your tree is under a TPO, you can then apply to your local council for permission to remove or prune it which can go either way – be granted or not.

There are various reasons why you may wish to chop down a tree on your property including the risks it could have on your property or to people or the roots could be damaging the foundations. Neighbourly disputes can also crop up which could lead you to consider removing your tree, especially where claims of subsidence are made.

An insurer protecting the interests of a neighbouring property can write to you to request removal of a tree associated with causing such harm however you are under no commitment to comply. As the tree proprietor, you can seek evidence through surveys and structural reports to see whether your tree is causing such damage before committing to removing it. If you do however ignore the warning and your tree does cause damage to the building which is then proven, either your insurer or yourself could be liable to a hefty repair bill.

In the event that your property is affected by a tree owned by your local council, you can contact them to request either removal or pruning but please note a lot of local authorities tend to fell trees where is posses a danger to people or buildings. Removal will only be considered in certain circumstances whereby aphid infestation is causing sticky patches on your car or roosting birds are causing a nuisance with their mess on your windows.

We hope you found our article on ‘How simple is to cut down a tree on my own land?’ helpful, if you have any queries, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.