Tree preservation

Trees are important to the environment. Trees create a varied, interesting and attractive landscape and give shelter to wildlife. Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) protect trees and woodlands.

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)

Local councils make and enforce Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs). Councils use TPOs to protect:

  • trees
  • groups of trees
  • woodlands

Why councils need to 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 wildlife

Cutting down trees, groups of trees and woodland can destroy the settings of buildings or parts of a town. Some proposals for extensions can threaten woodlands and trees.

Trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) may be made in order to protect selected trees or woodland if their removal is likely to have a significant impact on the local environment and its enjoyment by the public.

If a tree is protected by a TPO, you need the council’s consent before you can fell or prune the tree. Your local planning office can give you information on protected trees and the location of conservation areas in your area.

Your nearest planning office is in your local council.

Trees in a conservation area

Trees in a conservation area are automatically protected as if a TPO is in place. Anyone proposing to carry out work on trees in a conservation area must serve the council six weeks' notice of the intended works. If the council considers the proposed works should not be carried out, they can make a formal TPO to protect the trees.

Offences to trees protected by a TPO

It is a criminal offence to cut down, lop, wilfully destroy or damage a protected tree without the council’s consent.  The council can prosecute you for breaching a TPO.

Fines for breaching a TPO

If you're convicted of breaching a TPO, you could be fined :

  • up to £100, 000
  • an unlimited amount

When deciding a fine, the court will consider any financial benefit which accrued or is likely to accrue due to the offence.

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