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Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) are used to protect trees of a high amenity value or which have significant impact on the environment.

TPOs are not intended to prevent reasonable works being carried out on trees but are designed to give us an element of control over works which might detract from the landscape and the public’s enjoyment of the local environment.  Conservation areas are designated areas of historical and architectural interest – usually centred around towns and villages – where restrictions on tree works apply.

When is an application needed?

An application is needed to carry out works on trees which are protected by TPOs.  Our written consent must be obtained before any works start.  

There will sometimes be conditions attached to planning permissions requiring that trees be retained and safeguarded. Our written consent is usually needed for any works on these trees.

Contact customer services to find out whether trees are situated in a conservation area or subject to a TPO.

How do I make an application?

An application can be submitted using the Planning Portal. Alternatively, you can download an application form and guidance.

You need to provide an accurate and detailed description of the proposed works and to indicate the extent of any intended pruning. Pruning is often expressed in terms of percentage crown reduction and/or thinning.  If other works are proposed, such as crown lifting, pollarding and reduction in length of specific branches, it is important to indicate the extent of these works.  The full reasons for wanting to carry out tree works need to be provided and broad statements such as ‘in the interests of good arboricultural practice’ are unlikely to be sufficient.  If it is alleged that trees are hazardous or causing damage to property, any supporting evidence should be included with the application.

If it is felt that trees are exempt from the usual requirements of the legislation (on the grounds that they are dead or dangerous), it is necessary to give us five day’s notice of intent to prune or remove the trees (except in a genuine emergency).  Our tree officer will then inspect the trees to ascertain whether they are considered to be exempt.  If a tree is removed under this exemption, there is a legal duty to plant a replacement tree at or near the same place.

What happens if I carry out works on a protected tree without permission?

If a tree which is the subject of a TPO or situated in a conservation area is felled without our permission, you could be liable for a fine of up to £20,000 on summary conviction, or an unlimited fine on indictment.  If a tree is pruned without permission, you could be fined up to £2,500.  If in doubt as to whether permission is needed, please contact us.

Further information

Detailed information on tree preservation procedures. View this link to download a copy of the .GOV leaflet;  Protected Trees - A Guide to Tree Preservation Procedures. 

Detailed information on the Tree Preservation Order Appeals process is available from the Planning Portal.