Protected trees

Bedford Borough Council is responsible for protecting trees within its administrative area in the interest of amenity.

We have the authority to make Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) which means that specific permission is required for works to such trees. Special provisions also apply to trees within conservation areas.

Check if a tree is protected or in a conservation area

Request tree advice

Please submit a pre-application enquiry to discuss potential works to a tree that is protected or in a conservation area.

There is a fee for this advice.

Works to trees under Tree Preservation Orders

The written consent of the Borough Council is required for cutting down or carrying out any work on trees protected by a TPO.

An application for works to a protected tree is free of charge.

Works to trees in conservation areas

Six weeks’ notice must be given to the Council before any works are undertaken to trees in a conservation area.

An application for works to a tree(s) in a conservation area is free of charge.

See further information and guidance on making an application to work on a protected tree or a tree in a conservation area:

Making Tree Preservation Orders

Tree Preservation Order powers are used according to Government advice. Under the Town and Country Planning Act the Borough Council may make a TPO if it appears to them to be: "Expedient in the interests of amenity to make provision for the preservation of trees in their area".

Although a tree may merit protection on amenity grounds, it is not always necessary to make a TPO to protect it unless we believe it is at risk of being cut down either immediately or in the future.

If the TPO is justified, we make a detailed inspection of the tree and will only make a TPO if all the following criteria are also met:

  • The tree has a reasonable life expectancy
  • The tree is sound, healthy and free from disease or serious defect
  • The tree is not causing structural damage to existing buildings, utility services or public highways and is not likely to do so in the near future