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Trees - What is the Law?

What is a Tree Preservation Order?

A Tree Preservation Order or TPO is an order issued by a local council to protect any tree that they consider provides a benefit to the area. Any tree can be protected, but no tree is automatically protected no matter what the species.

You can check with your local council whether your tree has a protection order on it, and if your tree is found to be protected don’t panic! It doesn’t mean that you are unable to carry out necessary works, but an application will have to be made to the local council for the tree officer to consider.

Do you live in a Conservation Area? The statutory definition of a Conservation Area is ‘an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.' The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

Again most councils provide maps of conservation areas and lists of roads and areas that are under conservation. If you find that you do, you need to write to your council with details of your intended tree works giving six weeks notice of works to be carried out. This gives them the chance to decide if a TPO should be applied to your tree or trees - if TPO’s are already on the trees then as application as normal will need to be made for works.

We often make applications on behalf of customers which makes the whole process a little less stressful, as the council will come to us with any questions or queries.

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