Tree Preservation Orders
Local planning authorities such as the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority can make a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) to protect trees for amenity, public enjoyment or their environmental benefit. They can apply to individual trees, groups, areas of trees or whole woods. Hedgerow trees can be protected by TPO’s but not hedges.
A TPO prohibits the cutting down, topping, lopping, uprooting, wilful damage or destruction of trees without first obtaining permission to carry out works to a tree subject to a Tree Preservation Order from the local planning authority, unless the tree is dead, dying or dangerous (this can cause problems when dealing with important ancient trees), or in the way of development which has planning permission. A TPO protects a tree’s roots as well.
Breach of a TPO is an offence carrying a fine of up to £20,000, or an unlimited fine in very serious cases. Local planning authorities can also seek injunctions to stop work if there is a threat of contravention of a TPO.
In the case of unauthorised felling, the courts can order replanting and the TPO applies immediately to the replacement trees.
Trees in Conservation Areas
Conservation Areas are designated by the local planning authority for their historic value. While focussed on the built environment this designation also brings some protection for trees and woods. If over 7.5cms in diameter, trees in Conservation Areas cannot be felled, lopped or uprooted without giving written notice to the local planning authority. The authority then has six weeks in which to do one of the following:
- serve a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), in which case the applicant has to make an application for the work to be granted consent under the TPO
- give notice to the applicant that they do not intend to make a TPO, in which case the work may proceed
- if no notice has been issued by the planning authority then the work is deemed to be approved, and may be carried out within two years of the expiry of the six week period.
The 4 Conservation Areas designated within the Brecon Beacons National Park are:
Written notification must be submitted prior to carrying out an works to trees in a conservation area. A standard notification form has been made to help both the applicant and the determining officers.
Application Form for Tree Works: Works to Trees Subject to a TPO or Within a Conservation Area:
Further Information and Guidance:
- Technical Advice Note (TAN) 10: Tree Preservation Orders
- Guide to understanding protected trees
- TPOs – A Guide to the Law and Good Practice