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Tree preservation orders

Information on tree preservation orders, and how to apply to do work on a protected tree

Protected trees

A tree preservation order (TPO) protects trees under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

TPO's are usually made to preserve trees with landscape and amenity value under the following types:

  • individual tree
  • group
  • woodland
  • area

Once a TPO is made, it remains in place forever, unless we withdraw it. If a protected tree is felled or dies, it must be replaced. The replacement tree then becomes protected.

A TPO does not remove the usual responsibilities of a tree owner. However, you must:

  • apply for permission to carry out any works to a protected tree 
  • give us eight weeks' notice before carrying out work 
  • not start work until you have received our decision 

If we give you consent to do the work, it must be completed within two years.

Is my tree protected by a TPO?     

To find out if a tree is protected by a TPO please e-mail us with the address details. If you require a copy of a TPO document,  please ideally include a reference number in your email. Our contact details are at the bottom of this page.

Apply for permission

The easiest way to apply for permission to do work on a protected tree, is through the Planning Portal.

To apply for permission to do work on a protected tree you'll need:

  • the location of the tree
  • to include a sketch plan giving the tree's location

Apply for permission

We strongly advise you to use the services of a qualified Arborist. This will ensure your application is dealt with as efficiently as possible, and avoid delays in the process.

If you're unable to apply online, you can download and send us a paper form. You can find planning forms (including tree application forms) on the Planning Portal website.

Work without consent

If you do work to a protected tree without permission, you could be prosecuted. The maximum fine in the Magistrates Court is £20,000 for each tree. You would also be asked to replace the tree you removed.

How to get a tree protected

For us to consider a new TPO the tree must be:

  • worthy of being protected
  • have a high amenity value
  • or, be under threat of removal 

If you wish a tree to be considered for a TPO, please email us with:

  • the details and location of the tree
  • why it should be protected

Tree surgeons

To find an accredited tree surgeon, please see our tree surgeon list.