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Tree Preservation orders (TPO)

We all recognise the need to protect special trees from harm. It is surely sensible that some trees be afforded special status to preserve them when otherwise they may be in danger of being felled for any number of reasons – the vague and unsatisfactory word ‘progress’ being commonly cited as the reason for their pending demise. And considering the longevity of the average tree, their protection is a means of preserving for future generations that which may be lost to them.

Legislation in England and Wales and also in Scotland has evolved into what is now known as Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) which prevents wilful damage and felling of specified trees. The legislation is managed by the Local Planning Authority and in most cases that means the local Council Authority.

A department or section within the Local Authority has the duty of managing TPOs, very often found within the Planning Department. Their remit includes having in place a suitable administrative setup so that individuals, companies, agencies and the authority themselves can apply for a tree or an area (which would include all the trees within) to be protected by a TPO. In addition, a fast-track service may be available to offer immediate protection to trees under imminent threat. The Local Authority is responsible for maintaining the TPO register and for enforcing TPOs and can call on court action should any Order be violated.

The owner of any tree or trees under the protection of a TPO needs to be clear as to his or her rights and responsibilities under the legislation as the penalties for violating a TPO can be very costly in court. Fortunately most local authorities will work closely with a TPO tree owner to explain the legislation and to assist with the administration. Another resource in managing trees under TPOs is to engage a professional Tree Surgeon who will be able to explain the rules and regulations and how they may apply in any particular situation. Most tree surgery companies are familiar with the legislation and the administrative process in their area and can provide tailored advice. Some tree surgery companies may also handle the paperwork on behalf of the tree owner, as well as ensuring that any work carried out to the tree(s) remains within the boundaries of what the legislation allows.

Sometimes grants may be available for tree work which falls under the jurisdiction of TPOs and it is worth exploring this possibility ahead of organising any work. Once again, a reputable local tree surgeon can be of assistance in handling the grant application process and providing the required technical detail.

ICS Tree Services can assist with Tree Preservation Order advice and applications within the Leeds and Yorkshire areas.

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