Tree preservation orders can be made for any tree ( with the exemption of hedges, bushes, and shrubs) and woodland. Keep in mind that trees in hedges can be put under a TPO but not the hedges themselves. TPOs are primarily used in urban and semi-urban settings, and for trees that are considered to have some importance and significance to the local community.
How does a tree preservation order helps to safeguard trees and woods?
A TPO is designed to protect trees and wood by restricting the work that can be done on them. For any management or removal work to be carried out on a tree protected by a TPO, the local planning authority (local council) must first give you permission to do so.
Should one fail to request or obtain permission from the council and proceed to carry out this type of work, the council has the right to prosecute them and impose a fine ranging from £2,500 to £20,000. If you are in the New Forest area it may interest you to see BS5837 tree survey.
How can I get a TPO put on a tree?
If you want to have a TPO placed on a tree or wood, all you need to do is to contact the council and communicate the issue with the tree officer or any person at the council with the same mandate.
You need to be clear on why you think the tree needs to be put into protection. In practice, TPOs are placed on trees or wood that are deemed to have a high ‘amenity’ or ‘nature conservation value.
The council exercises its discretion with respect to making a TPO. They don’t have to put a TPO on a tree or wood as requested but if they do, they have a responsibility to ensure that it is enforced.
What are the timescales?
A TPO takes effect immediately after it is made. The initial protection lasts 6 months during which the TPO can be confirmed, revoked, or amended. Keep in mind that during this period, you can’t include other trees in the TPO. If you want to protect another tree (s), you will need to seek a new TPO from the council.
If the six months lapse and no one formally objects to the TPO, it becomes permanent. For one to legally carry out any work on the trees, an application must first be submitted to the council.
There are potential plans to remove a tree with a TPO – how can I protect it?
If anyone is planning to remove a tree that is protected by a TPO, they are required to submit their work to tree application to the council. These applications normally come with a period of consultation within which you can get in touch with the council and submit your objection.
You can add weight to your objection by getting the local community involved and encouraging as many people as possible to submit their objections.
A tree protected by a TPO has been felled, should it be replaced?
In case a tree protected by a TPO is removed, it is the duty of the property owner to replace it. This is also true if the tree dies, is dying, or is a hazard.
The owner of the property is required to plant a replacement tree:
- Of suitable species
- Of suitable size
- At the same location
- Within the shortest time possible
In the event that the land is sold before the owner replaces the tree, the new property owner will be required to replant the tree.
Regardless of which tree species are used to replace the initial tree, it will be covered by the existing tree protection order. Updates to the TPO will then be made to cover all changes made including location and species.