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Trees and hedges

Tree Preservation Orders

The purpose of a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is to protect trees that are significant to their local surroundings.

An order can be made by the council which makes it an offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree without the planning authority’s permission.

All types of trees can be protected and a preservation order can cover anything from a single tree to a whole woodland.

Once confirmed, a TPO remains in force permanently.

You can check if a tree is already subject to a TPO by visiting Your Area and entering its location. 

For more detailed information on TPOs, visit the Government website.

Threats to Protected Trees

If there is an immediate threat to a tree, call us on 01935 462462.

We would describe an immediate threat as something happening right now (or about to happen in the immediate future) that is a danger to a tree.

  • If the Council are not available (for example, it is a weekend or bank holiday), please report the matter to the local Police on 101
  • If you are worried that a protected tree has already has already been subjected to unauthorised works, report it as a Planning Breach
  • If you are worried about trees that might be under threat in the future (for example, by future development) but they are not already protected, go to our ‘How do I apply to protect a tree?’ section below.

If you are looking to carry out works to trees with a preservation order, visit our Apply for planning permission page

  1. How do I apply to protect a tree?

    You can check if a tree is already protected by being located within a Conservation Area or is already subject to a Tree Preservation Order.

    Serving Tree Preservation Orders can be costly to the tax-payer, so we endeavour to act responsibly. We will not usually serve an Order upon trees that:

    • Could be easily replaced with new plantings
    • Are short-lived, near the end of their natural life-cycle or could cause an unreasonable nuisance to adjoining residents
    • Are located too close to built-structure and seem likely to cause damage or an unreasonable nuisance as they grow
    • Are dying, dead or dangerous
    • Do not offer ‘perceived visual amenity’. For example, they are discreetly located within a back garden that cannot be seen from a Public place or the wider landscape
    • Are not considered likely to be under threat from possible removal or un-sympathetic treatment

    You can request a Tree Preservation Order by contacting us.

    The Council will deal with your request in-confidence, so please help us by providing as much of the following information as you can:

    • An accurate description of the location of the trees – if they are not within a property address, including an address nearby can help us to pinpoint where and what they are – species, ages, numbers, a location plan and photographs are most helpful
    • Describe the nature of the threat, e.g. possible future development
    • Explain why you think the tree/s should be protected

    If you know who the trees belong to, it can to speed the process up if you are able to provide us with the landowners name, address and any contact details.

  2. I own a tree with a preservation order

    If you own trees with a TPO, you are responsible for them, their condition and any damage they may cause.

    The National Tree Safety Group provides guidance on how to responsibly maintain the safety of trees.

    You must apply for permission before carrying out tree works, unless the tree is completely dead or urgently dangerous.

    If you are planning to carrying out works to a protected tree, we recommend that you get professional advice from an arborist or tree surgeon first. For more information and advice, visit the Arboricultural Association website.  

Thank you. You response is appreciated.

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