The only time arboreal work can continue in a Conservation Area without permission from the council is when it involves cutting down, pruning, finishing off or uprooting a tree that is less than 75 mm in diameter, or cutting down or uprooting a tree with a diameter of less than 100 mm to enhance the growth of another tree. To deliberately cut, uproot or destroy a tree protected by a Tree Conservation Order without permission is a crime. It is a crime to cut down trees without a license, where one would have been required. Some exceptions may apply, but in many cases a logging license will be required.
These licensing measures are not new; they have been in place for 50 years. They help maintain compliance with environmental standards that ensure sustainable forest management and timber production (UKFS) to protect England's high-value trees and forests. You can read more about this in our guide “Logging: Getting Permit”, which explains when a logging license is needed and how to apply. In some circumstances, there are exceptions to the need for a logging license, or other permits may be applied to allow logging to continue.
This page has been updated with information on when a logging license is required, what checks must be performed before reporting suspected illegal logging, how to make a report, and what could happen if a tree is cut down without a license. To carry out work in these areas, the designated statutory body must give permission unless it is an emergency. When you make a planning request, the form will ask if there are trees on the site or nearby that may be affected by the proposed works. Before anyone can cut down trees, they may need to obtain a logging license from the Forestry Commission.
For example, some ancient forests and old or veteran trees are within areas with legal conservation designations. A tree belongs to the land from which it originally grew, even if branches or roots have begun to invade the property of a neighbor. With this knowledge, it is incredible that the destruction has been allowed, the senseless destruction of 6,000 street trees in Sheffield. But we understand that it is sometimes necessary when a tree poses a security risk due to its location or condition, or is shown to damage property.
Trees and forests also provide us with valuable timber resources that are needed to make a wide range of daily products, and as biomass for fuel and energy production. They will ensure that the problem is sufficiently resolved while keeping as much of the tree as possible, and they have liability insurance in case something goes wrong as well. Many trees are protected by tree conservation orders, which is an order issued by local planning authorities to protect specific trees. There are exceptions to all of the above parameters, so the only sure way to verify this for your city or state is to read the local laws in the tree ordinance you can find here, or by using an Internet search.
In reality, the law states that any cut tree branches belong to the person whose land the tree grew first, so it's a good practice to ask your neighbor if you want them back, or if you don't mind getting rid of them during the process.