Q&A - Is it true that I can not cut down a dangerous tree in my own garden?

Q: I have a tree in my garden which is now about 30ft high and continuing to grow at an angle towards my garage roof. I told my neighbour that I wanted to cut the tree down as it was going to cause problems but she said that because we live in a Tree Conservation area I cannot touch it and if I do she will report me to the Council. The tree is not subject to a Tree Preservation Order, it is on my own property and I think it is unsafe to leave it any longer as it could easily fall on my garage if we have many more high winds. What can I do?

A: As the tree is located within a Conservation Area, you will need to seek formal permission from the Council before undertaking any work on the tree, even though it is on your own property.

Most local authorities have designated tree officers that you can discuss your individual position with initially. The terms of the Conservation Area will need to be studied and complied with. This will usually mean a formal application (which is usually free) needs to be made for permission for any proposed works on the tree pursuant to the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

In view of the size of your tree, and the potential for serious damage, it would be advisable to first seek guidance from a qualified tree surgeon or arboriculturalist to support your wish to remove the tree. It may be a condition of any permission to remove the tree that the work is carried out by such a specialist contractor who has adequate public liability insurance cover in case any difficulties arise.