Cutting or pruning a tree | Oxfordshire County Council

Cutting or pruning a tree

Advice about permission for pruning trees and protected trees.

Spring blossom on tree branches

Do I need permission?

Yes, if the tree:

  • is one of a number of trees to be felled in the same calendar quarter and the total volume of timber exceeds two cubic metres - a felling licence may be required from the Forestry Commission - see contact details below
  • is covered by a Tree Preservation Order - permission from the district council - contact details below
  • is within a designated Conservation Area - permission from the District Council - See contact details below
  • is on a rented property - permission from the landlord
  • is protected by a legal covenant - permission from the person(s) benefiting from the covenant
  • is within a property, which is part of a relatively new development (up to five years), and may be covered by conditions on the original planning permission.

For further advice on choosing a suitable contractor you can download the industry publication Tree Work, Choosing your Arborist (pdf format, 3.2 MB).

Pruning a protected tree

How to get permission

Applications to fell or prune a protected tree must be made in writing to your district council explaining which tree will be affected, what work you propose to do and why. There may be a special application form to complete. Contact your District Council Tree Officer, using the details below, for advice.

Any permission from your district council will state that the work must be carried out in accordance with British Standard 3998.

Carrying out the work is the responsibility of the applicant.

Who you can get to do it

We cannot recommend suitable contractors because of competition rules, but your district council may have a list of approved contractors. You can find their contact details in the document below.

Tree work contractors advertise in, local newspapers, trade directories, etc.


Collect several competitive tenders and ask about qualifications, membership of trade associations (eg Arboricultural Association, International Society of Arboriculture) and references from previous jobs. Ask to see similar work they have done locally.

Good contractors should be asking you about Tree Preservation Orders, Conservation Areas and other restrictions - and will usually make the necessary applications for you.

Builders felling or pruning trees

On a nearby building site, the builders are felling / pruning trees, is this permitted?

The development should have planning permission and the issue of trees, their retention, felling, pruning, and replacement, are part of the planning process.

Planning permission may override other legal protection of trees, where this is essential to carry out the proposed development. To check contact the development control planner for the area, at your district council or your district council tree officer, using the details below.

Who to contact

Last reviewed
03 March 2015
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