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Building near existing trees

Trees offer many benefits to residential or commercial sites such as screening, beautification, seasonal interest, habitat for wildlife, shade, wind speed reduction etc. Many of these advantages increase as trees mature with a larger stature.

Trees damaged directly or indirectly can lead to poor health, decline or death. A poorly or lost tree can result in additional costs associated with caring or dealing with arising problems but also reductions in overall asset and benefit values.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to consider the protection and planting of trees when granting planning permission for proposed development. Trees are considered as part of the planning process regardless of whether they are protected (by Tree Preservation Order or Conservation Order) or not.

Some types of building work or development need planning permission from the Local Authority and other types of work do not; this is ‘permitted development’.

If you are not sure if your proposed works need planning permission or not, please use the Planning Portal. If a project doesn’t fit into one of these categories, please contact the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning team for advice.


If you believe that a development site is not complying with their approved planning permission, or should have received either tree works or planning permission, you should report this to the Planning Enforcement team.

If you have witnessed the death or destruction of a protected species, or their habitat (for example: birds, bats and badgers) please contact Cambridgeshire Police.