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 or not 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 see our webpage ‘Do I need planning permission?’ or use the Planning Portal.

Once you have determined if you need planning permission on your site, please look at the appropriate website:

  • controlled development (planning permission) near existing trees, or
  • permitted development (no planning permission required) near existing trees.  

If you believe 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 (e.g. birds, bats, badgers) please contact Cambridgeshire Police.

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