Tree Preservation Orders

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) were established under the Town and Country Planning Act 1974 and were updated under The Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation)(England) Regulations 2012. This enabled local planning authorities to protect trees and woodlands in the interests of amenity by making tree preservation orders.

TPOs are used to protect trees that are considered important for the public visual amenity value they provide.

The landowner is still responsible for the trees, their condition and any damage they might cause at all times.  However, the Local Planning Authority are available to provide advice on suitable pruning techniques and maintenance programmes

Trees protected by a TPO may not be:

  • Cut down
  • Topped
  • Lopped
  • Uprooted
  • Wilfully damaged
  • Wilfully destroyed

Exemptions:  There are exceptions under Part 14 of the 2012 Regulations which allow for certain works to be carried out if:

  • trees are dead
  • necessary for the prevention or abatement of a nuisance
  • requested, and necessary from a Statutory Undertaker (ie Highways, Environment Agency, Drainage bodies)
  • work is necessary for national security purposes
  • a tree is cultivated for the production of fruit in the course of a business
  • necessary to implement a planning permission
  • it consists of the the removal of dead branches from a living tree

If works are proposed as an exemption then notice in writing must be made to the Local Planning Authority at as soon as practicable after the works become necessary and in any other case at least five working days prior to the date on which the works are to be commenced providing proof and justification that the works can be dealt with by exemption.  The Council will then assess whether the works described can be treated as an exemption to the Regulations or whether a formal application is required.

It is a criminal offence if you carry out unauthorised works to a protected tree which results in wilfull damage or destruction. There is an unlimited fine and/or 2 years inprisonment.

Formal Consent - You will need to apply for formal consent if you want to carry out any works which can not be considered as an exemption under Part 14 of the Regulations. To apply for consent for work on a protected tree you can complete our online TPO Application Form or submit your application via the Planning Portal.  The Council can offer advice on suitable methods of pruning, however applications for felling must be accompanied by a report from an independant arboricultural specialist.  the validation requirements for TPO applications can be found in the Scheme for Validation


Trees in a Conservation Area

All trees within a Conservation Area (and with a diameter of 75mm or more when measured at a point of 1.5m above ground level) have the same protection as trees that are the subject of a TPO. If the tree meets this criteria you must apply to the council before carrying out any work on the tree.

Alternatively you can submit your application online via our planning forms section or via the Planning Portal

For further information and guidance regarding TPOs and Trees in a Conservation Area please contact the Development Management Section on 01623 457388 /

Useful links

Updated on 21 November 2013.

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