Tree works

TreesTrees are an important part of our built environment and Harlow Council has a duty to seek to preserve them where possible and where they are considered to be important to the visual appearance of the locality. Preservation of trees can be in two different forms, via the service of a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or if a tree is located within a designated Conservation Area.

Unauthorised work to a tree protected by a TPO or within a Conservation Area is a criminal offence and liable to prosecution.

Tree Preservation Orders

A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is made to protect important trees and woodlands within the District. The main effect of the order is to prevent the cutting down or harmful pruning of important landscape trees without the permission of the Local Planning Authority. This is especially important where trees are in danger of removal.

Harlow Council has over 300 TPOs protecting a large number of trees and is currently reviewing those TPOs to ensure that the protected trees are of value and updating and amending the orders as necessary.

Anyone who intends to carry out works to a tree protected by a TPO in Harlow must first apply and receive consent from the Harlow Council before carrying out any works.

More information can be found in the Government document: A guide to tree preservation procedures (pdf)

Trees in Conservation Areas

All trees with a trunk diameter of 75mm or more are protected if they are in a Conservation Area.

Anyone who intends to carry out work to a tree in a Conservation Area must apply giving six weeks’ notice in writing of the works they propose to do, before carrying out work to the tree(s).

Harlow Council will review the application and consider whether the tree(s) is worthy of a Tree Preservation Order and if it is, are the works proposed acceptable. If the works are considered excessive and the tree(s) are of value to the amenity of the locality, a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) may be placed on the tree(s).

How do I find out of a tree has a Tree Preservation Order or is in a Conservation Area?

You can contact the Planning Team by emailing the address, postcode, location and type of tree(s) to In addition, when buying a property the presence of a Tree Preservation Order, or a Conservation Area should be highlighted by the search of the local land charges register.

Obtaining a copy of a Tree Preservation Order

Please contact the Harlow Council's Land Charges Team on 01279 446696 or by email:, if you would like to obtain a copy of a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). You will need to have either the number of the TPO or an exact address of the location of the tree(s) to help us find the correct TPO. The charge for a copy of a TPO is £5.00.

How to make an application to carry out works to a protected tree(s)

  • Tree Preservation Order: Anyone who intends to carry out work to a tree protected by a TPO in Harlow is required to submit an application for Tree Works, using the relevant form, checklist and guidance.
  • Conservation Area: Anyone proposing to carry out works to trees within a Conservation Area in Harlow is required to give the Harlow Council six weeks prior notice in writing before carrying out works on any tree over 75mm in diameter (or 100mm if the works are being carried out to improve the growth of other trees) measured at 1.5 metres high. It is recommended that the Tree Works application form, checklist and guidance is also used, as this ensures that all the necessary information, required to consider your proposal are forthcoming

Applicants are encouraged to seek the advice of an Independent Arboriculturalist before making any such applications and proposals can be advised on via the Council’s pre-application advice process prior to an application being formally made.

There are no fees required in respect of applications for works on trees.

There are three ways to make a tree works application:

  1. Submit a Tree Works Application through the Planning Portal:
  2. Submit your application by post. Download, complete and submit the Tree Works Application Form to Planning Team, Harlow Council, Civic Centre, The Water Gardens, Harlow, Essex, CM20 1WG.
  3. Submit your application by email, as an attachment, to


Important: Your application will be part of the public register and will be available on Harlow Council’s Planning Register and can in certain circumstances also be copied to neighbours and other third parties. You should draw our attention to any sensitive private information which you would not wish made available in this way.

Finding a Tree Surgeon or Arboricultural Consultant

Whilst Harlow Council are unable to recommend any tree work contractors (arboricultural contractors) the following arboricultural contractors are recognised by the Council, at the time of publication, as being reputable firms that undertake work in accordance with current British Standard recommendations and industry best practice guidance.