Trees


Trees are the responsibility of the land owner, but if they're protected you need to get permission from us to prune them. If you're concerned about any of our trees visit our parks pages.

For general advice on trees, speak to a tree surgeon. However, before hiring a tree surgeon, make sure they have the correct insurance. Any large trees you own should be inspected regularly to make sure they're safe.

If you're concerned about tree pests and diseases, visit the Forestry Commission Website.

Overhanging branches

While landowners are responsible for ensuring their trees are safe, they don't have to cut back overhanging branches. If they're overhanging your property, you can cut them back to your boundary. However if the tree is protected, you'd still need to get permission from us first.

Before starting work you should also get the opinion of a tree surgeon to make sure you don't damage or kill the tree. Talk to the landowner and offer to return the tree pruning. They may wish to make an arrangement with you.

Protected trees

Trees may be protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or because they're in a conservation area.

It's an offence to damage, cut down or destroy a protected tree in any way without getting permission first. If you prune or cut down a tree without permission, you could be prosecuted and receive an unlimited fine and will also be required to plant replacement trees in the same location.

You can find out if a tree is protected following these steps:

  • Visit our online map
  • Click on My Maps tab
  • Enter the postcode and click Find
  • Under Map categories tick the Heritage and Landscape category

Please keep in mind the marker for protected trees may not be precisely plotted. If you know of a protected tree that's in the wrong place or not on the map, email PSTechnical@midkent.gov.uk with the details.

General information on protected trees can be found on the GOV.uk website.

If there's a protected tree being removed or pruned without permission you need to report it by using our online form.

Getting permission

You can apply for permission to cut down or prune a protected tree, using our online form. If the tree is protected by a TPO then the application will take eight weeks. If the tree is in a Conservation Area, the application will take six weeks.

Apply for permission to do work to protect trees

Or you can download and complete our tree application form.

Other Restrictions

Trees can also be protected/controlled by planning conditions. You can check here. If you want to fell over five cubic meters of timber you may need a felling licence. You can apply for one from the Forestry Commission.

Tree preservation orders (TPOs)

A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is a legal order that protects trees or woodland. Maidstone has more than 1000 TPOs. A protected tree is still the landowner’s responsibility and we can't force them to do work on their trees.

You can request copies of TPOs by sending an email to PSTechnical@midkent.gov.uk.

If full planning permission is granted it may override the protection status on trees on the development site.

Applying for a TPO

Trees considered for a TPO must generally be visible from a public place, in good condition and under immediate threat of damage or removal. If there's a tree under threat you think should be protected you can ask for a TPO assessment by completing our online form.

Ask for a TPO assessment

If the tree is eligible for a TPO we'll initially make a legal order called a provisional TPO. We'll then notify the landowners and owners of neighbouring land which may be affected by the Order, who are able to object to or support the TPO. We'll take account of any comments we recieve and then confirm, withdraw or amend the TPO within six months.

Conservation areas

If you’re not sure if a tree is in one of our 41 conservation areas, check conservation area maps.

Any tree with stems more than 75mm in diameter at 1.5m above ground level are automatically protected if they are in a Conservation Area. These trees cannot be pruned or removed unless you give us six weeks’ notice.

Ancient woodland

Woodland, and ancient woodland in particular, is hugely important for nature conservation. It homes a number of protected species and is a key feature of the landscape and history of the borough.

The latest Ancient Woodland Inventory for Maidstone was published in August 2012.

You can check if woodland is considered ancient by visiting the Natural England website.

Dangerous trees

If you own a dangerous tree, you should get advice from a tree specialist.

If you've concerns about a tree on a neighbouring property you should let the owner know. It’s the landowner’s job to make sure their trees are safe.

To find out who owns a piece of land, contact the Land Registry.

Need to do urgent work to a protected tree?

Before carrying out urgent works to a protected tree, that's dangerous or a risk to other people, you need to give a five working day notice using our online form.

Submit a five day notice for work to a dead or dangerous tree

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