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Tree preservation orders

A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is a legally enforceable order made by the Local Planning Authority (LPA) to protect trees and woodlands 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, 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 TPO can protect individual trees, groups and areas or woodland, 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 a TPO, the LPA will make an objective assessment of the tree and the impact it has upon the local landscape. Once it has decided that a TPO is justified, it will serve the TPO 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 TPO 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 a TPO 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 TPO, 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.

Penalties

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.

Apply to do work on a protected tree

Since October 2008, it has been mandatory to use the national 1APP Tree Work application form.

To apply download the 1APP Tree Work Application Form (PDF: 466Kb / 4 pages) on the Planning Portal.

Application forms are also available from the Council Offices.

There are Guidance Notes on the Planning Portal 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 on the Planning Portal.

Replacement trees

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, 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 dependent 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?

Check to see if there is a TPO application or Conservation Area tree work notification, which are processed and referenced within the planning application system, for the area where the tree is located.

Search for TPO applications on Eden district's online planning applications register.

Search for TPO applications on Lake District National Park (LDNP) online planning register.

Search for TPO applications on Yorkshire Dales National Park (YDNP) online planning register.

TPO registers

Search the TPO registers held by Eden, the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks, for the area where the tree is located.

Tree preservation orders list, lists all the TPOs in the Eden district planning area. For TPO enquires contact the Planning Policy section.

LDNP tree preservation order list, lists all the TPOs in the LDNP planning area. Contact details for TPO enquires in LDNP.

YDNP tree preservation order list, lists all the TPOs in YDNP planning area. For TPO enquiries contact the trees and woodlands team.

More than one tree

If a number of trees are being removed, a felling licence may be required from the Forestry Commission.

Yorkshire Dales National Park extension area

From August 2016, the following villages and surrounding areas became part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) area - Crosby Garrett, Crosby Ravensworth, Great Asby, Maulds Meaburn, Orton and Ravenstonedale. The YDNPA deals with trees protected by a TPO or by Conservation Area status.

Trees Preservation Orders and the law

To have the legislation governing Tree Preservation Orders and tree protection in conservation areas explained go to Tree Preservation Orders and trees in Conservation Areas on GOV.UK.

Contact details

  • Eden District Council
    Planning Policy, Eden District Council, Mansion House, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 7YG
    Telephone: 01768 817817
    Email: loc.plan@eden.gov.uk

  • Arboriculturist
    Thursday and Friday only
    Telephone: 01768 212159
    Email: trees@eden.gov.uk

  • Planning Technician
    General Enquiries
    Telephone: 01768 212161
    Email: trees@eden.gov.uk

  • Lake District National Park Authority
    Murley Moss,Oxenholme Road, Kendal Cumbria LA9 7RL
    Telephone: 01539 724555
    Email: trees.woodland@lakedistrict.gov.uk

  • Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority
    Trees and Woodland Team, Colvend, Grassington, Skipton, North Yorkshire BD23 5LB
    Telephone: 0300 4560030
    Email: trees@yorkshiredales.org.uk

  • Forestry Commission
    General enquiries
    North West & West Midlands Area Office
    Ghyll Mount, Gillan Way, Penrith 40 Business Park, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 9BP
    Telephone: 0300 067 4190
    Email: nwwm@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

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