Most people would agree that both rural and urban landscapes benefit from the presence of trees; therefore people are not generally in favour of chopping them down without due cause. If you have a tree on your premises which is causing a problem then you may want it removing. However, if it has had a tree preservation order placed upon it then you’ll need to discuss any felling or pruning with your Local Planning Authority.

What is a tree preservation order?

A tree preservation order (TPO) is a legally enforceable order which can be put into place to protect trees and woodland in the interest of public enrichment. Issued and enforced by the Local Planning Authority (LPA), a TPO prohibits work being carried out on trees without prior consent.

A TPO can’t be placed upon a tree purposelessly; the tree owner must be considered and the reason must be valid. As the tree owner, you do have a right to object to the TPO, so if you feel the LPA are not justified in their decision you can appeal.

What does a TPO mean for a tree?

A TPO prohibits certain activities from being carried out without the written consent of the LPA:

  • Felling
  • Pruning
  • Uprooting
  • Wilful damage

However, a TPO does not mean that the Council own the tree, nor does it mean they are responsible for its maintenance. The tree owner is responsible for the maintenance of the tree, but must obtain written approval from the LPA before undertaking any work on the protected tree or trees.

If the Council refuses to consent to maintenance being carried out on the tree then you can lodge an appeal with the Secretary of State for Communities.

The Ts and Cs of a TPO

  • When you write to your local authority to request consent to carry out maintenance work or fell a tree that is protected by a preservation order, the LPA must be satisfied that the work is necessary in order to prevent a serious safety hazard, or that it is in the best interests of the health of the tree.
  • The British Standards 3998:2010 Recommendations for Tree Work states that any work carried out on a tree with a TPO must be carried out by a qualified tree surgeon.
  • As the tree owner, you are permitted to carry out work without consent from the LPA in extreme circumstances. If the tree has dead or dying branches that pose an immediate threat to people and the environment then you can remove them without consent.
  • If it is not an emergency it is always advisable to contact the LPA with at least five days notice before any work is carried out. As the tree owner it is your responsibility to provide proof that the tree was dead, dying or dangerous.
  • If you are the owner of a tree which is protected by a TPO then it is important to remember that there are high penalties for breaching the order; a fine of up to £20,000 can be issued by a Magistrate Court, while more serious cases will be dealt with in the Crown Court, with unlimited penalties. If you are in any doubt then it’s always best to seek advice from the professionals.

How can Scott Davies help?

A tree preservation order is a legality which must be adhered to, and many people can find the procedure of applying for consent somewhat daunting and confusing.

Let Scott Davies Tree Surgery help to make things simple for you.

We’ll start by contacting the LPA on your behalf in order to find out whether or not your trees are protected. If there is a TPO in place we’ll make the planning applications on your behalf.

We are fully qualified to carry out tree care in accordance with the relevant legislation and standards, so you don’t need to worry about obtaining consent; we’ll handle that for you.

Once permission is granted, we’ll put together a detailed report regarding the condition of the tree and offer our recommendations with regards to the maintenance of the tree.

The health, safety, and aesthetics of trees and their environment are at the forefront of everything we do.

Contact us today to see how we can help you with all of your tree maintenance needs.