Tree Preservation Orders
A tree preservation order (TPO) is a piece of statute law that comes under the:
Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the
Town and Country Planning (trees) Regulations 1999
The basic function of the law is to enable the protection of valuable trees that contribute to an area's landscape and amenity. TPO trees are usually mature, of good form and, most importantly, can be clearly seen from a public area. However, other factors are also relevant such as historic value, practical value (e.g. screening, sound suppression etc.) and as a harbour of protected wildlife.
Visit the FAQ's section for more information. If there any questions that you still have about TPO's please contact the Tree Officer.
TPO Property Search
Normally, when you purchase a property you are informed of any existing TPO's on the property (or adjacent property) by your solicitor as part of conveyance.
If a new TPO is made on your land (or adjacent land), you will be served with a notice of making of the TPO and confirmation of the order usually within 6 months after that.
If you are still unsure whether you have a protected tree on your land you can contact the Tree Officer.
Work on Protected Trees
Owners of TPO protected trees have the right to apply for permission to undertake pruning works or fell a protected tree. Application forms are simple to complete and there is no charge made by the council to process an application.
All reasonable requests for pruning will be considered as we prefer to encourage good tree husbandry that benefits both the tree and its owner.
Applications for work should be for recognised tree pruning operations. Guidance notes are included with the application form but we recommend that wherever possible the advice of a qualified, competent and insured arborist be sought prior to submitting the form. Advice on selecting a suitable contractor is also available on this site.
With large protected trees we recommend that you have the tree thoroughly inspected at least once every five years by an arboricultural consultant for safety
A copy of the application form and guidance notes are available online. Please print the form, complete and return to us as soon as possible.
Upon receipt of your application we will send you acknowledgement of the application. We aim to process applications in 10 working days, however, we have a period of eight weeks in which to fully consider some applications.
Tree Preservation Order FAQ's
Q. What is a Tree Preservation Order (TPO)?
A: TPO is a piece of statute law and comes under the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 and the Town & Country Planning (Trees) Regulations 1999. The basic function of the legislation is to prohibit:
of a protected tree without the express written consent of the local authority.
Q: Can any tree be protected?
A: In theory, yes. But in practicality a tree should possess some special quality that sets it out for protection. When deciding if a tree is worthy of protection, one must decide if the tree's removal would have a significant impact on the local environment and that its retention would accrue a reasonable degree of public benefit. This is known as amenity value.
Q: Can dying trees be protected?
A: There are no specific restrictions on protecting dying trees however, the Secretary of State's view is that it would be inappropriate to do so.
Q: I've heard that fruit trees cannot be protected, is this true?
A: No. A fruit tree can be protected like any other tree so long as it is in the interests of the local amenity to do so. However, if the protected fruit tree is cultivated commercially, the consent of the local authority is not required for felling or pruning as long as it is in the interests of the business to do so.
Q: In what other situations is permission not required for felling or working on a protected tree?
A: Permission is not required where a tree is dead, dying or dangerous. It is important though that the person wishing to fell or work on that tree give the local authority at least 5 days notice of their intention to do so (except in an emergency).
Q: My neighbour's protected tree overhangs my boundary. I understand I have the common law right to remove overhanging vegetation to my property - can I exercise my right in this case?
A: This is a "grey area" issue and has not officially been settled in the courts. However, this right should really only be exercised where actual damage to property is occurring or there is an immediate risk of damage or injury occurring.
Q: I think I have a protected tree on my property but I'm not sure. Could you check for me?
A: When a person purchases a property, the solicitor dealing with their property conveyance will inform them of any active tree preservation orders on that property or on an adjoining property. If a new TPO is made, the current landowner will be served with a legal notice of the making of the TPO as will the owners of any adjoining properties.