Tree Works and Felling Licences

A tree is protected if it is covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), or if it is located within a Conservation Area.

If you are intending to carry out work on a tree, you should contact us to see if it is protected.

Trees can be protected in several ways:

  • TPOs are made by us to protect one or more trees in an area. There are currently about 1000 TPOs in Mole Valley
  • Conservation Areas provide statutory protection for most trees, and you must give us six weeks’ written notice if you intend to carry out any work
  • Planning conditions requiring trees to be retained for up to five years may be attached to a planning permission
  • The Forestry Act controls the removal of trees from woodlands if the total amounts to more than five cubic metres

Before carrying out work on a tree, you should first check to see whether the tree is protected and, if it is, an application for permission will need to be made to us.

If permission is granted, you are advised to use a fully qualified and insured tree contractor. Visit for more information and guidance.

Carrying out work on a protected tree

Everyone, apart from statutory undertakers, is required to inform us if they plan to remove protected trees or parts that are dead or dangerous.

It is a criminal offence to cut down, prune or wilfully damage or destroy a tree covered by a TPO unless we have permitted the work

Before commencing work on any tree, it is strongly recommended that you check the status of the tree.

Tree Status Check ›

If you wish to carry out works on a tree protected by a TPO, you can make an application via the Planning Portal.

Or download an application form and email it to or send it to: Planning Department, MVDC, Pippbrook, Dorking, Surrey RH4 1SJ.

Once issued, we cannot vary or revoke any consent, so both the applicant and us need to ensure that any decision is right first time.

Dead and dangerous protected trees (trees covered by a TPO and/or within a Conservation Area)

Regulations state that nothing shall prevent the removal of hazardous parts or the felling of a protected tree that is dead or immediately dangerous.

The only requirement is that at least five days notice is served to us in writing prior to carrying out necessary works to make the trees safe; unless it is an emergency, in which case notice should be given as soon as the works become necessary.

It is acceptable to serve such notices by emailing

Please note that a tree felling consent application is required.

A tree exemption notice should contain:

  • the notice subject – Tree exemption notice
  • the full address
  • a description of the dangerous parts and condition, what works are intended to make the trees safe, the species in plain english
  • photos of the tree and problems
  • a clear simple plan showing the trees location in relation to buildings, roads, boundaries and north point

We may take the opportunity to inspect the trees or may acknowledge your notice sooner to say go ahead.

Please be mindful that there is a legal duty to replace trees removed under the exemptions unless the Council waivers the requirement.

Felling licences

In woodlands, even if a TPO is in force, you must first apply to the Forestry Commission for a felling licence if you want to cut down trees containing more than five cubic metres of wood in any calendar quarter.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, you do not need a licence to felling trees in parks or enclosed gardens.

If a licence is required and the trees are covered by a TPO, the Forestry Commission will deal with your application in consultation with us.

Where the Commission proposes to grant a licence, it will first give us notice, and we have the right to comment on or object to the proposal.

In that instance, the application will be referred to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, who will make a final decision. The Forestry Commission usually requires felled trees to be restocked, and does not normally grant licences to change woodland to agricultural use.