What is a Tree Preservation Order (TPO)? How can I ensure I follow the law when I am carrying out tree work?

Understanding Tree Preservation Orders consent

You may already be familiar with the term tree preservation orders if you are a tree-owner, keen gardener, or landowner.

This article will explain what a tree preservation order (or TPO) is.

This article answers common questions about tree preservation.

Because TPOs are legal documents you cannot ignore, it’s vital. You don’t want an offence if you are going to be doing work. Notice: A TPO is legally binding. Please use this information only. A solicitor can help you fully understand your rights and obligations.

What’s a tree preservation order?

This is how the law preserves and protects trees for aesthetic and environmental reasons. It can cover individual trees or defined areas. TPOs do not automatically cover trees, contrary to some neighbours and popular belief.

TPOs can be ‘written’ by your local authority or borough council, or national park authority.

If a tree is covered by a TPO then to do any of these is an offence:

  • Cut down
  • Top
  • Lop
  • Uproot
  • Wilfully inflict damage

TPOs don’t cover:

  • Shrubs
  • Bushes
  • Hedges.

How can I determine if a tree has been protected?

The details of trees that are covered by TPOs will be available to you from your local planning authority. The records will be available for inspection. You will also be able to inspect the records.

Who is responsible for a tree with TPO?

If the tree is on your property, the TPO does not apply to it. The tree’s condition and any damage it may cause remain your responsibility. Even though they don’t have a TPO-covered tree, you will need to get written permission from the local authority before any work can be done. If they refuse, there are appeal procedures.

How and when should I notify the authorities or obtain consent to work on trees?

A qualified tree surgeon will know the standard documentation. The form can be obtained from your local authority. You must be clear on the work that you are interested in and why you believe it should be done. A professional tree surgeon can assist with assessing the tree’s health and the surrounding environment.

If the tree is:

  • Urgent safety and health risk
  • Dead
  • Interfering with approved plans

In these cases, you will need to consult your local planning authority

You will need to verify the notification period. However, 8 weeks is a good starting point.

Get professional assistance

Although tree preservation orders can be complicated, they are generally issued with the best intentions: to preserve our enjoyment and enjoyment of nature.

As the owner of a TPO-covered tree:

  • You are responsible for its maintenance and health
  • If you plan to do any work on the tree, you must notify the local planning authority.

A qualified tree surgeon will assess your tree’s condition and assist you with all paperwork.

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