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Trees and hedgerows - West Dorset

Colmers Hill, Bridport

The trees and hedgerows of West Dorset are a natural and ecological asset and contribute to the visual enjoyment and distinctiveness of our local landscape.

Trees also make a valuable contribution to development sites where they are able to provide screening, add maturity to the site and can also soften the built form. It is therefore important to make sure that trees are considered during the planning process, and that those to be retained are not only protected during construction but their future growth and impact on the development is also considered.

Make a tree enquiry

Tree preservation orders

All types or species of trees with amenity value can be protected by a tree preservation order (TPO), including trees in hedges, but not bushes or shrubs. In addition, most trees within a conservation area are also protected.

We process over 350 tree work applications each year for trees that are either protected by a TPO or lie within a conservation area. There are over 400 TPOs in West Dorset and over 75 conservation areas.

Anyone can make an application to carry out work to protected trees (whether they are the landowner or not) and each application is carefully considered before a decision is issued. Trees remain the responsibility of the landowner and they are liable for any costs involved in carrying out any tree work.

The council has two months in which to determine applications concerning trees protected by TPOs, and six weeks notice is required for any work to trees within conservation areas; so this will need to be taken into consideration before hiring a tree surgeon to carry out the work. Before choosing your arborist, you are advised to check that they are adequately insured before agreeing to have the work carried out.

Tree work notifications can be viewed via the Tree Work Application Search (opens in a new window)

Tree surgeons

Guidance on how to go about hiring a tree surgeon as well as important information to consider can be obtained from the Aboricultural Association (opens in a new window) website.

Apply online - trees

Apply and make payment online if you want permission to carry out works to trees within a Conservation Area or that has a TPO.

Apply online

Apply online - Hedgerows

Countryside hedgerows are also protected, and anyone looking to remove a section of hedge needs to serve six weeks written notice to the council.

Apply and make payment online if you want permission to remove a hedge.

Apply online

High hedge complaints

You can complain to the council about a high hedge, provided you have exhausted all other means of resolving the dispute.

Note that there is a fee for this process.

Download a complaint form you can complete and email back (excel, 979kb) (opens in a new window)

Download a complaint form you can print and post back (pdf, 179kb) (opens in a new window)

For more information or advice about trees please contact:

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