Guide for Tree Cutting at Home: Legalities & Costs

Key Summary

  • Tree removal in the UK requires compliance with TPOs and Conservation Area regulations, and potential felling licences.
  • Cutting tree limbs over your property is legal but beware of property lines and TPOs.
  • Costs for tree removal vary, and leftover wood can be used, donated or recycled.
Cutting down a big tree

Is it legal to cut down trees in the UK?

When it comes to the topic of tree removal in the UK, it’s important to be aware of the legal aspects. There are certain cases in which it may be legal to cut down a tree, however, the specific legalities can vary depending on a number of factors.

The first aspect to consider is whether the tree is subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). A TPO is a legal order made by the local planning authority which prohibits specific actions from being taken without the written consent of the authority. This can include actions such as cutting down, topping, lopping, uprooting, wilful damage, or destruction of trees.

Trees within conservation areas are also subject to certain protections. If a tree is within a conservation area, you are required to give the local planning authority six weeks’ notice before carrying out work on trees that have a trunk diameter of more than 75mm.

What permission is required to cut a tree?

The permission required to cut a tree can depend on several factors, including the size of the tree and its location. In many cases, a felling licence may be required. This is particularly true if the tree or trees amount to 5 cubic metres of timber by volume.

Before issuing a felling licence, your local council will discuss certain conditions with you. These conditions are typically related to replanting the area and maintaining the trees for a specified period of time although it’s worth noting that licences for thinning woodland typically do not have a restocking condition.

It’s also important to communicate with your neighbours about any potential issues with trees. This is especially important if they are on shared boundaries as this can help to avoid disputes and ensure that everyone is in agreement before any tree cutting takes place.

Also Read: Why Trusting Tree Care and Removal Experts Matters

Can you cut tree limbs hanging over your property in the UK?

In the UK, it is legal to cut tree limbs hanging over your property, as long as it is done without trespassing onto the other person’s property. You are also able to climb into the tree to undertake the work but only if it does not require entering the neighbour’s garden or land.

If, however, the tree is covered by a TPO or is located within a conservation area, prior consent from the local authority will be necessary. This is an important consideration to keep in mind when planning any tree cutting or trimming work.

If you’d like to know more about tree removal, be sure to check out Travs Trees. They can provide valuable insights and services to help you navigate the legalities and costs associated with tree cutting at home.

How close to property lines can I cut trees?

When cutting trees, it’s important to be mindful of property lines. If a tree is on your property, you have the right to trim branches or limbs that extend past the property line, but you can’t cut down the entire tree if the trunk is on the neighbour’s property. One of the few exceptions to this is if it is a new tree that blocks your light, but you would need to apply to the courts for permission. 

In the case of a shared tree that falls directly on a boundary line, both property owners share the responsibility for the tree and must agree on management actions. In some cases, you might need a surveyor to identify exact property lines before making decisions about tree cutting.

How much is it to cut down a tree?

Tree removal costs can vary widely depending on a range of factors. On average, the cost of large tree removal by a professional in the UK is typically between £400 and £1000, however this can run up into several thousands of pounds according to this cost guide.

We break down how much, on average, it costs to cut a tree down: 

TaskAverage Cost
Initial assessment£50 – £100
Tree felling£400 – £1000
Large oak at height with team£1000 – £2000
Medium birch tree with medium team£600 – £1200
Day rate per person£150 – £300
Day rate for larger  team (3-4 people)£450 – £900
Stump grinding£60 – £350
Waste removal£70 – £150
Tree debris disposal£80 – £200
Tree trimming£200 – £600

What to do with trees after they’ve been cut down

Once the process of tree felling is completed, you’ll be left with a significant amount of leftover wood. Here are some methods on how what to to with trees once they’ve been cut:


One of the most practical uses for leftover wood is converting it into firewood. Whether you have a fireplace at home, or an outdoor fire pit, the wood can provide a cost-effective and sustainable heat source during the colder months. 


Chipped wood can serve multiple purposes around your property, or even as a renewable energy source. You can use it for landscaping as both a decorative and functional element as they help to prevent weeds and retain soil moisture. 

Alternatively, you may wish to use it as a source of biomass fuel however this does require specialised equipment and isn’t always suitable for all scenarios. 


Donating your wood is an option that can benefit others while disposing of your tree remains responsibly. Local schools often welcome donations for woodwork or art lessons, as well as community projects. 

Wildlife centres will also sometimes accept donations as they can be used for enclosures or as habitats for animals. 


Recycling your leftover wood is an environmentally friendly way of disposal. Many local councils offer green waste recycling services where they can convert your leftover wood into compost or mulch. 

You could also consider donating to a reclamation centre. These centres can repurpose the wood into new items or sell it for others to use in their projects.


Cutting down a home tree requires understanding of laws, permissions, and costs. Familiarise yourself with Tree Preservation Orders, felling licence requirements, and tree removal costs. 

You need to consider how tree cutting affects property lines and know how to responsibly utilise or discard the leftover wood. While the level of information surrounding tree cutting can seem overwhelming, with adequate information and preparation, tree cutting can be accomplished successfully.

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