A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is a legally enforceable order made by the Local Planning Authority (LPA) to protect trees and woodland in the interests of public amenity. The power to make a TPO is contained in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Town and Country (Tree Preservation)(England) Regulations 2012. The principal effect of a TPO is to prohibit the cutting down, uprooting, topping, lopping, uprooting, wilful damage to or wilful destruction of protected trees or woodlands unless permission has been given by the LPA.
Why make a TPO?
To prevent the loss of trees that are in imminent danger of being felled or damaged, or where they need to be protected in relation to a planning application provided that they make a significant contribution within the local surroundings. A TPO would not normally be made where the trees are well managed or a management agreement with the Forestry Commission is in place.
What trees can be protected?
All types of trees, including hedgerow trees but not hedges, bushes or shrubs. The Order can protect individual trees, groups, areas or woodlands, where it is considered that they make a significant visual contribution to the locality and are of benefit to the general public.
Making of a TPO
In deciding whether it is expedient to serve an order, the LPA will make an objective assessment of the tree and the impact it has upon the local landscape. Once it has decided that an order is justified it will serve the order on the relevant parties at which time it is possible for support or objections to be submitted within the period allowed, a minimum of 28 days. The order will include a plan and schedule of all trees, areas, groups or woodlands that are protected.
When does a TPO become effective?
Under the 2012 Regulations a TPO comes into force on the date it is made and lapses after six months unless it has been confirmed by the LPA. If there are no objections to an order it will be confirmed by the LPA without further consultation, but where objections are made these will be considered by Committee before a decision is taken whether to confirm the order or not. An order can be confirmed with or without modification, a modification can see the removal of a tree or trees but cannot include additional trees, this would require a new TPO to be made.
What does a TPO control?
A TPO prohibits the cutting down, topping, lopping, uprooting, wilful damage or wilful destruction of protected trees or woodlands unless written permission has been given by the LPA. This applies to roots as well as stems and branches.
There are some exceptions that do not require permission but it is advisable to consult the LPA or a professional advisor before undertaking any works to trees protected by a TPO.
Anyone who commits an act in contravention of a TPO is liable, on conviction in a Magistrates Court, to a fine of up to a £20,000. For a serious offence, a person can be committed for trial in the Crown Court and if convicted, can be liable to an unlimited fine.
How is an application to do work on a protected tree made?
Since October 2008 it has been mandatory to use the national 1APP Tree Work Application Form (PDF: 466Kb / 4 pages) available from the Planning Portal website. Application forms are also available from the Council Offices. There are Guidance Notes to help you complete the form correctly to ensure it is valid. It may be necessary to provide supporting evidence from a suitably qualified arboriculturist or reference to pre-application agreement with a representative from the Council. The completed form should be returned to the address at the end of the form or submitted via the Planning Portal.
If a protected tree or woodland is removed without permission, there is a legal duty on the landowner to replace it. If a landowner fails to comply with this duty the LPA can serve a Tree Replacement Notice. If permission is granted for a tree to be cut down, the LPA can require a replacement tree, either by agreement with the owner or by serving a Tree Replacement Notice. Where a new tree is planted as a replacement for one that was removed because it was dead, then the new tree will be protected within the same TPO as the original tree.
Do different regulations apply to woodlands?
If the woodland is protected within a TPO then an application to carry out work should be submitted to the LPA. However, since almost all felling work in a woodland is licensed under the Forestry Act 1967, the LPA may advise the applicant to submit a Felling Licence to the Forestry Commission in the first instance who will then decide whether or not to consult with the LPA. Large individual trees standing in fields or hedgerows may require similar approval, however, it is entirely dependant upon the volume of timber within the tree. Advice should be sought from either the LPA or the Forestry Commission (see contact details below) before any work is commenced.
What can I do if I think unauthorised work to trees is taking place?
All TPO applications and Conservation Area tree work notifications are processed as planning applications by the Council and details can be viewed on the Council's Online Planning Applications Search facility. The Council keeps a register of all Tree Preservation Orders within its jurisdiction and enquiries should be directed to the Planning Policy section (or the Lake District National Park Authority if in the National Park). If a number of trees are being removed a Felling Licence may be required from the Forestry Commission.
Where are the Tree Preservation Orders in Eden?
For the location of each tree preservation order see the Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) list.
For further information on Tree Preservation Orders and trees in conservation areas in the National Planning Practice Guidance published on 6 March 2014.
Eden District Council
Planning Policy, Eden District Council, Mansion House, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 7YG
Telephone: 01768 817 817
Thursday and Friday only
Telephone: 01768 212 159
Telephone: 01768 212 161
Lake District National Park Authority
Murley Moss,Oxenholme Road, Kendal Cumbria LA9 7RL
Telephone: 01539 792 614
- Forestry Authority
Peil Wyke, Bassenthwaite Lake, Cockermouth, Cumbria CA13 9BR
Telephone: 017687 766 16