Tree management and preservation
Trees make an important contribution to the environment, creating a varied, interesting and attractive landscape.
Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)
DOE Planning is responsible for making and enforcing Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs). TPOs may be used to protect trees, groups of trees or woodlands, which add to the character and appearance of an area.
Why protect trees?
Trees should be protected because they:
- enhance views
- help define character and promote a sense of place
- add colour and seasonal interest
- support a wide variety of wildlife
Cutting down trees, groups of trees and woodland can destroy the settings of buildings or parts of a town. Also, proposals for extensions can sometimes threaten woodlands and trees.
Trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order
Tree Preservation Orders may be made:
- to prevent any action being carried out on a protected tree except without the prior consent of the Department
- to secure replanting
- in relation to applying for any consent under the Order
If a tree is protected by a TPO, the Department’s prior consent is required before it may be felled or pruned in any manner. Your local planning office will be able to provide information on protected trees and the location of conservation areas in your locality.
For information on how to find your nearest planning office, please check the attached link:
Trees in a Conservation Area
Trees in a conservation area are automatically protected as if a TPO is in place. However, in a conservation area, anyone proposing to carry out works on the trees must serve on the Department six weeks notice of the intended works. If the Department considers the proposed works should not be carried out, it can make a formal TPO.
Offences to Trees Protected by a TPO
It is a criminal offence to, for example, cut down, lop, wilfully destroy or damage a protected tree in a manner likely to destroy it without the Department’s consent. Any person who contravenes a TPO is guilty of an offence. Any person found guilty of an offence will be liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to £100,000 and on conviction on indictment to an unlimited fine. In determining the amount of any fine the court will consider any financial benefit which has accrued or is likely to accrue as a result of the offence.
Further TPO Information
Further information on TPOs is set out in the Department’s Information Leaflet 4 – TPOs. It provides information on:
- how does the Department decide which trees to protect
- how are TPOS made
- how do get consent to carry out works to protected trees
- what happens if you carry out works to protected trees without consent
- trees in conservation areas
It also contains contact details for all the DOE Planning Offices in Northern Ireland.
You can download the leaflet from the link below or obtain a printed copy from your local Planning Office.
Further information in relation to trees and development is contained within Trees and Development – A Guide to Best Practice which can be viewed or downloaded from the link below.