Tree management

There are three main levels of protection which can be placed on privately owned trees.

Trees in Conservation Areas

Section 69 of the Civic Amenities Act 1967 gives local authorities the power to designate Conservation Areas, to preserve or enhance the appearance or character both built and natural. This designation affording trees statutory protection is supported in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.


A six week written notice must be given to Scarborough Borough Council for any intended tree works within a conservation area and must contain the following:

  • Location of tree(s) including sketch map
  • Details of the owner of the tree(s)
  • Works to be undertaken
  • Reason(s) for the works

or you can download - Tree Works Application Form

It should be noted that it is not an offence to undertake work to a tree in a Conservation Area that is dead, dying or has become dangerous. However, the burden of proof that work is exempt from the need for prior notice because of the condition of the tree(s) lies with the person carrying out the work. Anyone proposing to do work under this exemption is strongly advised to contact the tree officer for advice before hand.

Decision Making

Scarborough Borough Council may decide that the proposed works are undesirable, in this situation a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) may be served, and normal conditions relating to Tree Preservation Orders will apply.


Penalties for undertaking works to tree(s) within a Conservation Area within a six week period are the same as those for undertaking unauthorised works to tree(s) covered by a Tree Preservation Order.

Planning conditions

Trees may be protected as part of the planning conditions of a proposed development. A comprehensive survey, plan and report should be submitted with an application In accordance with BS.5837:2005 – Trees in relation to construction.

The local Planning Authority are responsible for the making of Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) and the administration of applications to carry out works to trees protected by TPOs, trees in Conservation Areas and trees protected by a condition on a planning decision notice. If you have any queries regarding protected trees, including finding out if a tree is protected please contact your local planning office.

Tree Preservation Orders

See our related page for information on Tree Preservation Orders.

Trees - frequently asked questions

Do I need permission for undertaking tree works?

If you are intending to undertake works to a tree protected by a Tree Preservation Order, consent must be gained from Scarborough Borough Council by submitting an application form.

If you are intending to undertake works to trees within a Conservation Area, a six week written notice must be given to Scarborough Borough Council.

Please contact if you are unsure.

What if a tree is dangerous - do I still need permission to do works to it?

If a tree is protected, but is dead, dying or dangerous then the normal application process is waived. However, you must give the Council five days notice of your intentions to carry out work. Anyone who is unsure whether the tree is dangerous is advised to obtain advice from a professional arboriculturalist. The onus is on the owner to prove to the Council that such work is required.

How do I find a reputable tree surgeon?

Scarborough Borough Council does not keep an official list of trees surgeons to issue to members of the public. Anyone can advertise and call themselves a 'Tree Surgeon', therefore it is very difficult to determine if they are reputable and competent.

Applicants are advised to ask for:

  • Insurance details - any reputable operator will have public liability insurance.
  • If they have any qualifications, eg. National Diploma in Arboriculture or National Proficiency Test Council (NPTC) Certificates in chainsaw competence.
  • Do they belong to a recognised professional body or Arboricultural Association, although this is not a guarantee of their work standard.