Trees and high hedges
Find out more about how we maintain Westminster's 9,000 street trees while conforming to TPO standards.
Published: 7 January 2021
Last updated: 30 April 2021
You can apply to carry out works on protected trees, report high hedges, or find out more information about the trees in our borough.
The trees of Westminster, whether in parks, open spaces, in private gardens or on the streets, make a significant contribution to London's reputation as one of the worlds greenest cities.
We maintain our 9,000 street trees by inspecting and pruning on a regular cycle, and removing trees where necessary.
An annual street tree planting programme also takes place, to ensure the continued benefits of trees for future generations.
Trees in parks and council-owned cemeteries at East Finchley, Hanwell and Mill Hill are also maintained by the Tree Section.
For queries about trees in streets and parks you can email us via [email protected].
For queries about trees in our cemeteries, contact the Parks team.
Privately owned trees
Many trees on privately owned land are protected by:
- tree preservation orders
- being situated in a conservation area - check if your property and trees are in a conservation area
- specific conditions on planning permissions to ensure their protection during development - search to check if trees on a development site are protected by planning conditions
It is a criminal offence to carry out tree surgery or to remove trees protected in these ways without prior consent or notifying the council.
For further queries about privately owned trees, or to find out if a tree is subject to a Tree Preservation Order, please contact [email protected]
Approved tree works should be carried out by an adequately qualified and insured tree surgeon. If you allow unauthorised tree pruning or felling to take place, both you and your contractor could be prosecuted.
Carrying out works to protected trees
There are over 650 Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) that protect thousands of trees for the public's enjoyment. If you wish to carry out almost any work to a protected tree, you must first gain our consent.
If you propose to carry out any work to a tree in a conservation area, you must give the council at least six weeks notice in writing (a section 211 notice). This gives us an opportunity to consider whether a TPO should be made in respect of the tree(s).
The quickest and easiest way to submit your application is online.
You should read the checklist of documents you need to submit before making your application.
The quickest and easiest way to submit your application is online. However, If you unable to do this, then you will need to download the application below, and send the completed form to the address on the form below.
- planning portal guidance notes for completing a tree application / notification (PDF)
- additional information about protected trees (PDF)
- protected Trees: A guide to tree preservation procedures (published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Report it: see the high hedges complaint form
Residents can seek our intervention when they have been unable to resolve a problem with a neighbour's hedge as a result of Part 8 of the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003. Please see the guidance notes (PDF) for more information.
The legislation only applies if the hedge:
comprises of two or more trees/shrubs
is more than two meters tall
is mostly evergreen or semi-evergreen
is capable of obstructing light or views
If it is decided that a hedge adversely affects the reasonable enjoyment of the neighbour's home and garden, we can issue a remedial notice to the owner of the hedge. This sets out what must be done to reduce the height of the hedge, the time-frame for doing the work and what is required to prevent the problem happening again.