Tree Considerations

The information below is to highlight things that need to be considered when dealing with tree related work, these are legal requirements that can carry penalties if not adhered to.

All work carried out by Prestige Tree Services adheres to all relevant laws and regulations - this means that you do not need to worry about obtaining consent as we will handle all of this for you.

Tree Preservation Orders

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) are used to protect selected trees and woodlands where removal would have significant impact on the amenity of an area. The practical effect of a TPO is to prohibit the felling, pruning or uprooting of trees without the consent of the Local Planning Authority (LPA). A TPO extends to the whole tree including the roots.

Should anyone wish to fell, prune or uproot a tree covered by a TPO, they (the applicant) must apply in writing to the LPA setting out the tree works they wish to carry-out and why, they must also clearly identifying the tree(s) - if necessary by reference to a plan and the TPO.

It is important that you or the company employed by you, do not carry out any work on a tree or trees until written permission has been granted by the LPA and work to approved methods and conditions imposed by the LPA in terms of operation type.

The LPA's permission is always needed to work on a protected tree except for cutting down or cutting back a tree only if it is urgent, necessary and in the interests of safety. Photographic evidence should be included with documentation to justify the work and due cause.

Conservation area

Most trees in a Conservation Area (CA) are protected.

Trees within a conservation area are protected similar to Tree Preservation Orders. All Trees within a Conservation Area with a diameter over 75mm (3in) require 6 weeks’ prior notification to the LPA for any proposed work.

Anyone wishing to fell, prune or uproot a tree within a Conservation Area must give six weeks’ notice in writing to the LPA, detailing the nature and extent of the proposed work and identify the tree or trees involved.

The LPA may place a TPO on the tree(s) involved.

There will be a two year period for work to be undertaken should permission be granted.


Working on a protected tree without permission is a breach of current legislation.

You and your contractor can incur a fine of up to £20,000 on conviction in a sheriff court.

Serious cases may be taken to the High Court, where there is no limit to fines that may be imposed on conviction.

Care must be taken when Wildlife or Habitat disruption may occur. Fines will be applied for wilful destruction or negligence concerning Wildlife, Protected Flora and Fauna.

Replacement Trees

The LPA have legal powers to ensure that a replacement tree is planted when required, landowners or their agents will have to plant a replacement tree if they cut down or destroy a protected tree in breach of the legislation, the LPA may give permission to cut down a protected tree but make replanting a condition of the consent.

The LPA can make you replant a tree of the same size and species as the one removed or destroyed.

Be safe and follow the procedure or employ our services.

Unsafe Trees

The landowner or their agent will not normally be held responsible for damage caused by a tree falling or losing branches if the failure could not have been foreseen. However, if the tree had obvious signs of disease or structural weakness, the owner might be sued for any damage caused.

It is particularly important that trees which are in public places are regularly inspected to check on their condition and have any necessary works carried out. Even though a tree may be covered by a TPO or stand in a Conservation Area, consent is not required for the felling or uprooting of a tree where work is urgently required in the interest of safety.

If a tree is considered to be dangerous, professional advice should be sought. However, unless the danger is imminent, the LPA should be given five days notice before any work commences. In order to justify the actions, proof may be required by the LPA detailing the condition of the tree before the remedial work was undertaken. To avoid complications, prior consultation with the LPA is therefore encouraged.

Roads Scotland Act

If a tree overhangs the highway or footway, causing a danger by obstructing the passage of vehicles or pedestrians or interfering with sight lines or lights, the highway authority may require the owner or occupier to deal with the tree in order to remove the problem. There are similar provisions for dealing with dead or diseased trees, which are likely to fall on the highway or footpath. If the owner fails to comply, then the highway authority may do the work and charge the owner.

Trees That Cross Boundaries

Trees encroaching boundaries frequently result in neighbouring dispute.

Branches and roots may be pruned to boundary lines providing the Trees Health and Stability aren’t critically impaired. Negligent Pruning Operations however, may result in conviction and imposed fines.

Care is needed if the tree is protected, see Tree Preservation Orders.

Having crossed a boundary roots may enter a defective drain and cause a blockage; they may grow under and crack pavements and driveways; and they may contribute to building subsidence. Damages may only be awarded if it can be shown that the tree owner was negligent, that is, that the damage was reasonably foreseeable and the tree owner should have taken preventative action. The tree owner may be found not negligent since the damage was not reasonably foreseeable.

High Hedges

There is currently no law set in Scotland for the height of hedges.

This text has been prepared for information or guidance purposes only. It is not intended and must not be relied upon as a definitive statement of law in relation to trees. Appropriate legal advice must always be obtained, whilst the statements are believed to be accurate no responsibility or liability will be accepted for any inaccuracies.

Contact Us

For all Prestige Tree Services enquiries please contact

Proprietor : Mr Thomas Lynch Cert Arb(RFS)
Prestige Tree Services
Mobile: 07896 787 141