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Tree Works Applications - Guidance for Agents and Applicants

This guide is intended to assist applicants when submitting an application for tree works. It covers works to a tree under a tree preservation order (TPO) and/or notification of proposed works to trees in a Conservation Area.

So that we can register and process your application as swiftly as possible, it is important to provide all of the information that is requested on the form.

This guide is intended to help prevent applications being delayed due to insufficient information.

1. Applicant Details

If you are the applicant, please provide your name and registered postal address here.

If you are the agent (acting on behalf of a client), please provide the name and registered postal address of your client here.

2. Agent Details

If you are an agent acting on behalf of a client, please provide your name, your company name and registered postal address.

If you are the applicant (acting on your own behalf) please leave this section blank. If you have sought advice from a Tree Surgeon or Arborist, please note their name and company name in Section 7: Identification of Tree(s) and Description of Works. You should include any reports as supporting information with your application.

Please note, if you do name a tree surgeon or arborist as your agent in this section, you will not receive any correspondence from us regarding this application. It will all be sent to the named agent - the tree surgeon or arborist. This could mean that you miss important information.

3. Tree(s) Location

If the tree(s) that you are applying to work on are on or within the immediate boundary of the address detailed in Section 1 above, please leave this blank.

If the tree(s) are located elsewhere, please complete this section in full.

4. Tree(s) Ownership

If the applicant detailed in Section 1 is not the legal owner of the trees that you are applying to work on, please complete this section in full.

If the owner of the trees is unknown, please carry out a Land Registry Search for the piece of land that the tree(s) are situated on. As part of the consultation process, we are required to contact the legal owner of the tree(s).

If the Land Registry Search proves inconclusive, please submit a recent copy of the Land Registry Search Results to demonstrate that you have taken reasonable steps to identify the owner(s) of the tree(s).

If the Land Registry Search identifies the details of the landowner, please insert the details here and submit a copy of the Land Registry Search results as supporting information.

5. What are you applying for?

Please tick the appropriate boxes.

If all the trees in the application are both in a Conservation  Area and subject to a TPO, the application will be assessed under the 8-week application process for works to a tree subject to a TPO.

If some of the trees in the application are in a Conservation Area and some are subject to a TPO, a separate application will be needed for the tree(s) which are subject to a TPO.

6. Tree Preservation Order Details

If the trees in the application are subject to a Tree Preservation Order, please submit details of the Order here. You can find the TPO number using our Interactive Mapping System.

7. Identification of tree(s) and description of works

If you have commissioned an arboricultural report (tree survey), this can be submitted as supporting information. However you must outline the works that you are applying for in this section as well.

You should:

  • Identify each tree species 
  • Make sure the numbering matches that used on the sketch plan 
  • Provide a full and clear specification of the work you want to carry out. The only time we will accept a percentage is for crown thinning. A proposal simply to 'cut back', 'prune' or 'lop' a tree is too vague, because it fails to identify the extent of the works. Instead, try to use descriptions such as:
    • crown thinning, e.g. crown thinning by up to 20%
    • crown height reduction, e.g. crown height reduction by up to 2 metres
    • lateral crown reduction, e.g. lateral crown reduction by up to 2 metres on West side
    • crown lifting, e.g. crown raise up to 3 metres from ground level on South side
    • removal of specific limbs, e.g. removal of broken limb on East side at approx. 3 metres from ground level

All dimensions provided must be in metres.

It will help if you can provide current photos of the tree(s) you are proposing to work on, indicating (for example) which branches you wish to remove, or the height by which you want to reduce the crown.

Supporting photographs of the tree(s) as a whole and close ups of damage or disease can also help speed up the assessment process, particularly in applications for minor works. However, you should not put yourself at risk to take these photos.

Please note that photographs will not be accepted instead of a location plan and description of planned works.

Sketch Plan

Your sketch plan should be clear and simple, and must show the following:

  • Tree position(s) in relation to buildings, roads and site boundaries
  • Number and/or name
  • The property on which the tree is located
  • All relevant fixed features or structures such as buildings or roads.
  • An arrow indicating the direction of North

The plan must identify the tree(s) on which work is proposed, and the tree identification numbers (e.g. T1, T2 etc.) must match the tree identification number in the description of proposed works.

You can submit the plan separately from the form as a supporting document if you prefer.

An example of a sketch plan is shown below:

Tree Sketch plan example

Please note, due to copyright laws, we cannot accept unlicensed aerial photographs or maps sourced from internet providers such as GoogleEarth.

We also cannot accept plans printed from our Interactive Mapping Service or those issued with the original Tree Preservation Order. This is because the copyright is held by Ordnance Survey and provided to the Council under licence.

Maps and site plans can be purchased from a number of retailers online or from the Planning Portal.

 8. Additional Information

This section is for you to provide additional information in support of your application. In particular, you should include the information below if your application relates to the condition of the tree, or damage that the tree is causing.

For works to a tree or tree(s) covered by a TPO

(a) Condition of tree(s)

The presence and impact of pests, diseases or fungi that mean works need to be carried out to the tree(s) should be described in written evidence or diagnostic information. This information should be supplied by an arboriculturalist or other appropriate expert.

If the application argues that there are defects which mean the tree or parts of the tree cannot be retained currently  or in the future, this must also be supported by arboricultural evidence.

(b) Alleged damage to property

If your application alleges that a tree or trees is causing damage to your property, you should include the following:


Structural Engineers and/or Chartered Surveyor's report, supported by technical analysis from other experts such as root specialists and soil analysis. These reports must include:

  1. A description of the property, including
    • a description of the damage and the crack pattern,
    • the date that the damage first occurred/was noted,
    • details of any previous underpinning or building work,
    • the geological strata for the site identified from the geological map;
  2. Details of vegetation in the vicinity and its management since discovery of the damage. Include a plan showing the vegetation and affected building;
  3. Measurement of the extent and distribution of vertical movement using level monitoring. Where level monitoring is not possible, state why and provide crack-monitoring data. Data provided must be sufficient to show a pattern of movement consistent with the presence of the implicated tree(s);
  4. A profile of a trial/borehole dug to identify foundation type and depth and soil characteristics;
  5. The sub-soil characteristics including soil type, particularly that on which the foundations rest, liquid limit, plastic limit and plasticity index;
  6. The location and identification of roots found. Where identification is inconclusive, DNA testing should be carried out; and
  7. Proposals and estimated costs of options to repair the damage.

In addition, you must also include a report from an arboriculturalist to support the tree work proposals, including arboricultural options for avoiding or remedying tree related damage.

Other Structural Damage

Technical evidence demonstrating other structural damage, such as damage to garden walls, drains, paving and drive surfaces, should be provided by a relevant engineer, building/drainage surveyor or other appropriate expert.

9. Authority Employee/Member

You only need to complete this section if you are related to any elected Councillor or member of staff employed by South Hams District Council and/or West Devon Borough Council.

10. Checklist

Please use the checklist to make sure that you have included all necessary information before submitting your application.

11. Declaration

If you are submitting a paper form, or via email attachment, either the applicant (if the applicant is not using an agent) or the agent must sign and date the form. Failure to provide a signature could cause your application to be delayed.

If you are submitting an application online using the planning portal, you do not need to physically sign the form.

12. Contact Details

Please ensure all requested contact details are provided, for both applicant and agent. This should include landline telephone, mobile telephone and email addresses.

These details will not be published but will mean we are able to contact you or your agent if we have any queries during the application process.

If you do not provide these details, your application may be delayed.

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