Tree Preservation Orders
What is a Tree Preservation Order?
Planning authorities have powers to protect trees by making Tree Preservation Orders. The issuing of a TPO makes it an offence to fell, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or destroy any protected tree(s) without first having obtained permission from the Local Authority.
All types of tree can be protected in this way, whether as single trees or as part of a woodland, copse or other grouping of trees. Protection does not however extend to hedges, bushes or shrubs. TPOs are recorded in the Local Land Charges Register which you can check at your local council offices.
When purchasing a property the official searches carried out by your Solicitor should reveal whether there is a TPO on the property or whether your property is within a Conservation Area within which trees are automatically protected.
A TPO will not prevent planning permission being granted for development. However, the council will take the presence of TPO trees into account when reaching their decision.
How is a TPO made?
If your council wishes to issue a Tree Preservation Order over a tree (or trees) on your property, they will serve a formal notice on you and write to other interested parties advising them of the making of the order. A notice will be posted nearby in a position where members of the public can read it.
What are my responsibilities?
Trees covered by TPOs remain the responsibility of the landowner, both in terms of any maintenance that may be required from time to time and for any damage they may cause. The Council must formally approve any works to a TPO tree.
Carrying out works to a protected tree
Although there are certain circumstances in which permission to carry out works to a protected tree are not required, it is generally safe to say that you should always write to your Council seeking their permission before undertaking any works.
You should seek advice from a qualified tree surgeon, provide details of the trees on which you intend to do work, the nature of that work and the reasons why you think this is necessary.
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