Tree Preservation Order - Part One - The Basics← Back

The Basics of Tree Preservation Orders

When embarking on a project then you may need to bear in mind tree preservation orders. In this guide, we aim to outline the main considerations.

The newest legislation came into force on 6th April 2012 and it affects all existing and new tree preservation orders.

A tree preservation order makes it an offence to chop it down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or willfully destroy without the authority of the Local Planning Authority, who will have put the order into force. These orders are put in place to protect trees which bring significant amenity benefit to a local area and is particularly important where trees are under threat. They can be placed on all types, and any species, of tree but they will not include hedges, bushes or shrubs and they can be there to protect a single tree or all trees within a defined area.

If you need to discover whether a tree or trees are protected then you will need to do so, via us acting as your agent, with the Local Planning Authority. If you wish to check before you
purchase a property then an official search of the local land charges register can be made. This will reveal the existence of any orders and whether a property is situated in a conservation area.

If you are concerned about work being carried out on what you believe to be a protected tree/s then you can check that the person has permission by speaking to the Local Planning Authority where a register of planning applications and decisions shall be listed. And likewise, you can inform them of any that you believe should be protected but aren't.

Any new orders come into affect as soon as the Local Planning Authority makes the it, on a provisional basis, until it is confirmed to provide long-term protection. When an order is made, those who may be affected by it will be notified, generally the tree owner and possibly tenants and neighbours. Copies of new orders are also available.

If you either object to or wish to express support for a new tree preservation order then you have the right to do so in writing, within an allowed time period (usually 28 times), stating the tree/s in question and giving your reasons.

Although the Local Planning Authority is responsible for putting these orders in place, they do not become responsible for looking after them. That role will stay will the tree owner. But, if any work is required on the trees then the Local Planning Authority permission will be required and they may offer advice on best working practices.

Any work to a preserved tree will need to have an application submitted by your agent (ABDS) which will provide information to support your case. Your agent may consult a tree surgeon or arboricultural consultant to help clarify the health of tree etc to include in the application.

It may be necessary, in the event that you wish a fell a tree, to apply to the Forestry Commission for a felling license, even if they aren't covered by a tree preservation order. This does not include felling trees in gardens but consult with us for advice on this aspect.

You will find Part Two here. If you need any further information or have questions in the mean time, please contact us. We have 'the man with the plan'.