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How Not to Break the Law When Cutting Down a Tree On Your Property

The legalities behind felling trees, on your property or otherwise, can sometimes land you in murky waters, unless you’ve conducted adequate research beforehand. Nobody wants to accidentally bring a court case upon themselves without even realising until it’s too late.

Whether it’s getting sued by a neighbour for accidentally mowing down their beloved tree, or getting sent to court for removing woodland in a conservation area (even if it’s your own land!), it can be disconcertingly easy to get into trouble without guidance.

Here’s our handy guide to making sure you cut down your trees without cutting holes in your wallet or social circles:

Obtaining Permission

The safest way to go about tree felling is to firstly discover the legal position of the tree or area that you’re looking to purge, which can be done by asking the local council whether or not the tree has a TPO (Tree Preservation Order) attached to it.

These orders will prevent the removal of trees that bring benefits to the surrounding areas – e.g. for aesthetic purposes – or to protect a type of tree that is under threat. It’s vital that you declare exactly the trees that you wish to fell as – even within the same area of woodland – one particular tree could be the difference between an innocent brush-clearing session or a criminal record.

Once you’ve ascertained the kind of tree(s) you’re dealing with, you can apply to carry out tree works by obtaining a form from the LPA (Local Planning Authorities). For further information on the legalities behind TPOs, consult this government guide.

Being Mindful

Regardless of whether the LPA in your area have offered you permission to proceed or not, you should still be mindful about the environment when cutting down trees. Be sure to recycle as much of the wood chippings and general waste that arises as a result of the process.

If in doubt, ask your local council about their recycling capabilities, so you can work out what is worth saving as you carry out your work.


When working with wood chippers, chainsaws or stump grinders, it is important that you hire or purchase from a reputable company, who can provide you with both high quality equipment and expert guidance, or even assistance.

If working on a commercial level, it is vital that your company works within the guidelines of the country’s health and safety regulations. Wood chippers especially can be dangerous tools that require a lot of respect and patience with use – meaning that the operative should be well-trained and trusted with the product.

Field & Forest Machinery Ltd have been providing machinery solutions for years, with a range of new and used tree and brush removal tools, available to purchase or hire from our Broxburn facility.

Check out our latest product offerings, including the Jo Beau Hand-Feed Wood Chipper and Stump Grinder, or contact our specialist advisors who can assist you with the correct purchase or hire for your individual requirements.

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