Trees often require attention, whether it’s regular pruning to control the shape and size of the foliage or even tree felling if they’ve become dangerous. While many trees can be cared for and maintained with the land owner’s permission, some may have a TPO (Tree Preservation Order) applied, which means you must get permission from your local planning department before any work commences.

Here’s everything you need to know.

What Is a TPO?

A TPO is a Tree Preservation Order, which is a legal mechanism to protect and preserve trees. A tree may have one applied for several reasons, including its environmental benefits, its aesthetics or even for the purpose of public enjoyment. It covers trees which are part of public woodlands or streets to stop others cutting them down, although hedges, shrubs and bushes aren’t protected by the TPO in place.

Responsibilities for Gardeners

Gardeners must ensure they are aware of any TPOs on their land, as well as any other trees they intend to work on, such as those on neighbouring properties or in public spaces. If you need information regarding a protected tree, you’ll need to get in touch with your local authority and the department which deals with the Land Charges Register.

Tree care and maintenance are down to the owner of the land in which it is situated, including reducing any dangers it poses. Therefore, if you think there’s a tree which needs work, and its located in a public area, contact your local authority.

If you interfere with a protected tree, you could be liable for a hefty fine. This includes topping, felling, lopping, uprooting and damage of any kind.

Tree care guides - Top tips for working on trees with a TPO appliedWorking on Trees with a TPO

If you think a tree needs work and you know it has a preservation order applied, you’ll need to seek permission from your local planning authority. This even includes smaller jobs like tree pruning. The application process can take time, so it’s advised you apply around eight weeks in advance of the work, but check with your council about their own turnaround times.

However, if the tree is currently posing a health and safety risk, try to gain permission at least five days before the work commences. It’s always best to have written permission from your local authority before you start. To increase the likelihood that your application is a success, ask a professional arborist or tree surgeon to assess the tree before you apply.

Conservation Area Trees

Conservation areas have their own rules about the work that can be carried out on trees, and permission can often take around six weeks. The council could refuse, applying an additional TPO to the tree, and other local residents may object to the proposed work. Therefore, always have realistic expectations about potential outcomes to avoid disappointment.

Need a professional tree assessment?

If you need the condition of a tree assessed to help with an application to work on a tree with a TPO, get in touch with Fair Oaks Tree Services. We also provide a range of other arborist services, covering London and Surrey locations such as Reigate, Sutton and Tadworth. For expert advice, call now on 07780 445079.