Tree Preservation Orders
What is a Tree Preservation Order?
Trees in conservation areas, as well as individual trees or groups of trees, may have a tree preservation order (TPO) against then. Imposed by a local authority, a TPO means that the trees are protected and cannot be thinned, reduced, felled, or in any way pruned without specific written permission. A Tree Preservation Order covers the roots, as well as all growth above the ground and you cannot trim or cut down trees in a conservation area without the appropriate paperwork and permissions. If you do, you could receive a significant fine of up to £20,000.
TPOs can be assigned to any tree that is deemed to have any kind of significant value or importance, whether that’s socially, historically, or naturally. In conservation areas, in most instances, any tree that has a main trunk diameter of 75mm or more at 1.5 metres above the ground will have a TPO.
What Work Can be Done on Protected Trees?
Any kind of pruning or felling can be done on a tree with a TPO, including felling, crown lifting, crown cleaning and crown reduction. The work must be deemed necessary and appropriate by the relevant local authority, and they will often carry out a site inspection as part of the decision process. You can expect to wait 6 to 8 weeks for permission to be granted, so remember to plan ahead.
Any work must be done competently and according to any conditions laid out in the written permission. Like any kind of complex tree pruning, it is beneficial to hire experts to undertake the work. They will have both the skills and knowledge to undertake any jobs within the legal boundaries set by a TPO.