Tree management and preservation orders
Certain trees and some groups of trees are protected by law. Those that have tree preservation orders (TPOs), or those that fall within a conservation area, are protected by legislation that makes it an offence to carry out work on those trees without permission.
To check whether or not a tree is covered by a TPO or in a conservation area please check our interactive map with information on how to use it in the guidance.
The council is responsible for the efficient management and maintenance of trees within the area. Trees that grow in council-owned property or on public open spaces are also protected as they are considered to be council property. Anyone who wilfully damages these can be prosecuted.
The council has its own professional tree officers who regularly inspect trees to ensure that they are safe, in good condition and to pinpoint any work requirements.
Specialist tree contractors are employed to carry out all appropriate tree maintenance to trees owned by the council.
If you are intending to undertake works to a private tree you are advised to:
- contact the council to ensure that the trees are not protected by a TPO, planning constraints or by location within a conservation area;
- always employ a suitably trained professional tree surgeon, who is covered by public liability insurance (proof must be provided);
- never employ house callers or leaflet droppers claiming to be professional tree surgeons;
- check professional identification and qualification proof, reputable tree surgeons will always be able to provide this;
- reputable contractors can be found in the Arboricultural Association's directory of tree surgeons.
If you want to fell or prune a tree protected by a TPO or within a conservation area, you will need to seek consent by completing a TPO application form.
Guidance notes for application form.
You can contact the planning department to find out whether a particular tree is covered by an order, or whether it's protected because it falls within a conservation area.
Tower Hamlets also keeps a list of trees that are affected by tree preservation orders. You can make an appointment to look at the list at our offices at:
5 Clove Crescent
For more information about trees, contact the planning department or download our information leaflet on trees.
You will need Acrobat Reader to view the above leaflets, which is available free of charge from the Adobe website
Tree Protection Orders
Proposed Tree Preservation Order 2017/1 - Land to the rear of 69-72 Cadogan Terrace
On the 28th February 2017 an interim tree preservation order (TPO) was placed on trees of all species, and including 11 Sycamore and 3 Elder on land to the rear of 69-72 Cadogan Terrace. This is to enable the trees be protected by a Tree Protection Order under the powers conferred to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in Section 198 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
The council is providing notice for a period of up to 28 days and is happy to receive representations / comments regarding the TPO during this time.
For more information please see below:
Previous Tree Protection Orders
Tree Preservation Order 2016/1 - Park West, Park Central and Park East Buildings Fairfield Road, London E3 2UR
On the 23 June 2016 an interim tree preservation order (TPO) was placed on Fifteen London Plane trees, in the car park / forecourt of the Park West, Park Central and Park East Buildings, Fairfield Road, London E3 2UR. This is to enable the trees be protected by a Tree Protection Order under the powers conferred to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in Section 198 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The council is providing notice for a period of up to 28 days.
For more information please see below:
1 Eaton Terrace, Aberavon Road – tree preservation order notification
On 14 March 2014 an interim tree preservation order (TPO) was placed on a Crab Apple Tree in the forecourt of 1 Eaton Terrace, Aberavon Road, E3 5AJ.
The reason for the TPO is that the tree contributes significantly both to the amenity of development in the vicinity and on a wider basis to the street as a whole. It is assessed that to remove it would result in a loss the aforementioned amenity.
The council is providing notice for a period of up to 28 days of the following documentation:
Milligan Street, Limehouse – tree preservation order confirmed
On 5 December 2012 an interim tree preservation order was placed on four London Plane trees at the junction of Milligan Street and Three Colts Street and local residents' opinions sought on the the protection of these trees.
On 3 June 2013, following careful consideration of the representations received, the council decided to confirm the order. View a copy of the Delegated Officer Report for further information. The confirmed tree preservation order (TPO 2012/1) is also available for inspection.
The reason for the decision to confirm the tree preservation order is that these four Plane trees have significant public amenity and are growing in a public open space, clearly on view to the wider public.
The effect of the council's decision is to offer a degree of protection to the trees and to require those wishing to cut down or carry out works to the trees to make an application for works to the trees. An application form can be found on the council's planning application forms page.
Tree works order
Tree works schedules list all maintenance work planned for each tree in an area. Typical work can include standard maintenance, branch removal, or adding or removing a supporting stake. While we have to remove trees from time to time we try to avoid it and aim to conserve rather than remove.
Each schedule will be made available for public consultation for 14 working days before work is due to begin. If you wish to comment on a schedule please email the trees team at Parks@towerhamlets.gov.uk or call 020 7364 5000.
Current tree work schedule notifications
Tree works order
Printed copies of the schedules can be made available, please email the trees team at Parks@towerhamlets.gov.uk or telephone 020 7364 5000 to discuss alternative methods of delivery. The schedules and reports use a number of terms and abbreviations: if necessary please request further information.
For trees in parks or on highways