Advice on tree pruning

All work to council owned and maintained trees is carried out using best arboricultural practice in line with the current British Standard 3998:2010 Tree work - Recommendations. All reputable tree surgeons should be working to best practice; details of the current guidance are available at British Standard online.

Please note the tree preservation legislation that came into force on 6 April 2012 which affects all existing and new tree preservation orders.

Before carrying out any pruning works to trees, bear in mind the following points:

  • ask yourself what you are trying to achieve
  • be aware that often a short term fix can further aggravate a problem in the long term. For example, if a tree is reduced or thinned to give more light, remember that this can result in even more foliage within a very short space of time
  • if you are intending to carry out work to a tree not owned by yourself, please contact the owner prior to doing any work, even if this includes trimming back any overhanging branches. (If the tree is council owned or maintained please contact us to discuss the matter).
  • before doing any work, check with us to see whether the tree(s) are located in a conservation area or covered by a tree preservation order
  • if you are unable to do the work yourself, employ a fully insured professional and fully certified tree surgeon to do the work on your behalf and ask for their advice about the proposed work. Read our advice on employing a tree surgeon
  • all work should be done according to best arboricultural practice

Works to trees protected by a tree preservation order or located in a conservation area 

Privately owned trees in Cheltenham play a large part in creating the ambience of the town and help to soften the impact of the ever increasing urban environment.  The tree preservation order legislation protects trees which make a significant contribution to the local environment. There are approximately 550 tree preservation orders (TPOs) in place in Cheltenham.

  • Before carrying out work on a tree covered by a TPO you must first apply for permission
  • To check whether a tree is covered  by a TPO or to apply for permission to carry out work on a protected tree, please contact us

Trees in one of the seven conservation areas in Cheltenham (Central, St. Marks, Prestbury, Cudnall, Charlton Kings, Swindon Village and Bafford) are also given a level of protection.  This means that before work can be carried out on trees (with trunk diameters of 75mm and above, measured at 1.5m from ground level) in these designated areas, a formal notification must be submitted to the trees officer. This will enable us to assess the tree's potential for a tree preservation order.  

For more information please contact the trees section.