Tree Preservation Order Applications

We are Accredited Agents with Cornwall Council and can offer a conveyance service through the planning process.

  • As Accredited Agents our planning applications are registered promptly on minimal checks. This streamlines the process and enables the Council to validate and progress applications quicker

Tree protection brief guidance

Tree Preservation Orders, Conservation Areas, Planning Conditions, Felling Licences or Restrictive Covenants legally protects many trees in the UK. Anyone wishing to undertake work to a tree should make suitable enquiries as to the legal status of the tree and any protection afforded to it, before undertaking any work, in order to protect themselves and others from possible prosecutions or enforcement action.

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)

TPOs are administered by Local Planning Authorities (LPA) (e.g. a borough, district or unitary council or a national park authority) and are made to protect trees that bring significant amenity benefit to the local area. This protection is particularly important where trees are under threat.

All types of tree, but not hedges, bushes or shrubs can be protected, and a TPO can protect anything from a single tree to all trees within a defined area or woodland. Any species can be protected, but no species is automatically protected by a tree preservation order.

A TPO is a written order, which in general, makes it a criminal offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree protected by that order, or to cause or permit such actions, without the authority’s permission. Anyone found guilty of such an offence is liable. In serious cases the case may be dealt with in the Crown Court where an unlimited fine can be imposed.

Conservation Areas

Normal TPO procedures apply if a tree in a conservation area is already protected by a TPO. But if a tree in a conservation area is not covered by a TPO, you have to give written notice to the LPA (by letter, email or on the LPA’s form) of any proposed work, describing what you want to do, at least six weeks before the work starts. This is called a ‘section 211 notice’ and it gives the LPA an opportunity to consider protecting the tree with a TPO.

You do not need to give notice of work on a tree in a conservation area less than 7.5 centimetres in diameter, measured 1.5 metres above the ground (or 10 centimetres if thinning to help the growth of other trees).

You can find out more about trees in Conservation Areas in the Department for Communities and Local Government guide titled Protected trees: A guide to tree preservation procedures.

Trees and the planning system

Under the UK planning system, LPAs have a statutory duty to consider the protection and planting of trees when granting planning permission for proposed development. The potential effect of development on trees, whether statutorily protected (e.g. by a tree preservation order or by their inclusion within a conservation area) or not, is a material consideration that is taken into account when dealing with planning applications. Where trees are statutorily protected, it is important to contact the LPA and follow the appropriate procedures before undertaking any works that might affect the protected trees.

Planning conditions are frequently used by LPAs as a means of securing the retention of trees, hedgerows and other soft landscaping on sites during development and for a period following completion of the development. If it is proposed to retain trees for the long term then a TPO is often used rather than a planning condition. If valid planning conditions are in place then anyone wishing to undertake work to trees shown as part of the planning condition must ensure they liaise with the LPA and obtain any necessary consent or variation.

The nature and level of detail of information required to enable an LPA to properly consider the implications and effects of development proposals varies between stages and in relation to what is proposed. Table B.1 of British Standard 5837:2012 Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction – Recommendations provides advice to both developers and LPAs on an appropriate amount of information that will need to be provided either at the planning application stage or via conditions.Work specification

Trees in Relation to Design, Demolition and Construction

Working closely with local authority tree officers we aim to provide a sensible solution to the often opposing needs of private interest and public planning restrictions. We realize that tree issues can be very personal and must not be bound up in red tape. Our team of experienced arborists can give advice on planning and prepare your applications for you.

Local Planning Authorities require the input of a trained arboriculturalist in all situations where trees are present on, or adjacent to a construction site. Atlas Tree Services can carry out the necessary work and produce documents detailed under BS5837:2012, including:

  • Tree constraints plans showing root protection areas and crown spreads plotted using AutoCad.
  • Tree protection plans showing tree protection and ground protection measures.
  • Arboricultural Impact Assessments (AIAs)
  • Arboricultural Method Statements (AMSs) usually required to discharge planning conditions.
  • Site monitoring and inspection to ensure tree protection measures remain in place to comply with LPA conditions.

In addition to helping with the requirements of BS5837, Atlas Tree Services can offer advice on specialist construction methods such as:

  • Porous surfacing within root protection areas
  • Specialist construction methods for foundations within root protection areas
  • Installation of services close to tree root systems using Airspade technology