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.
Anyone who commits an act in contravention of a TPO is liable, on conviction in either the Crown Court or the Magistrates' Court, 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.
See the Guidance Notes on the Planning Portal to help you complete the form correctly to make sure 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.
The Council will consult with the tree owner if different to the applicant and with the Town or Parish Council.
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 the TPO registers held by Eden, the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks, for the area where the tree is located.
Go to the tree preservation order list on the Lake District National Park (LDNP) website, lists all the TPOs in the LDNP planning area. Contact details for TPO enquires in LDNP.
Yorkshire Dales National Park (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
Read tree felling licence: when you need to apply on GOV.UK if you need to remove a number of trees.
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
Read Tree Preservation Orders and trees in Conservation Areas on GOV.UK it explains the legislation governing Tree Preservation Orders and tree protection in conservation areas.
Monday and Tuesday only
Eden District Council, Mansion House, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 7YG
Telephone: 01768 212489
Telephone: 01768 212161
Go to contact us on the Lake District National Park website for all the their contact details.
Go to contact trees and woodland team on the Yorkshire Dales National Park website for their contact details.
Go to Forestry Commission North West and West Midlands Area on the GOV.UK website for the local area office contact details.