Tree preservation orders (TPO)
How to find out if a tree is protected, and when you need permission to work on protected trees.
Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) are made to protect certain trees because of:
- their appeal
- the special contribution they make to the landscape or local built environment
- their benefit to the appearance of a new development
Trees are also protected if they grow in a conservation area. This means that pruning or other work done to the tree must be agreed by us before any work is carried out.
All types of trees can be protected including hedgerow trees if they have amenity value, but not hedges, bushes or shrubs.
Find if a tree is protected
You can check if a tree or group of trees are protected by a TPO by searching our constraints maps.
You'll also be able use these maps to see if a tree is in a conservation area.
Works that need permission
You'll need to apply for permission for any work to a tree that involves:
- cutting down
Wilful damage or wilful destruction of a tree are also prohibited.
⚠ You may be prosecuted for working on or removing any protected trees without permission.
Works that don't need permission
There are a number of exceptions that mean that you'll not need to apply for permission for any work to a tree.
These exceptions include certain work (information on GOV.UK):
- on dead trees and branches
- on dangerous trees and branches
- to comply with an Act of Parliament
- to prevent or abate a nuisance
- necessary to implement a planning permission
- on fruit trees
- by or for statutory undertakers
- for highway operations
- by the Environment Agency and drainage bodies
- for national security purposes.
Apply to work on a tree that's protected
You will need to make a 'works to trees' application if they're protected by a TPO or you live in a conservation area.
When you submit an application for works to trees you'll need to include photographs of the tree(s) that are the subject of the application.
Emergency work to dying, dead or dangerous trees
Except in an emergency you must give us at least working five days' notice before you carry out works on a dead or dangerous protected tree or if you remove dead dying or dangerous timber from an otherwise healthy tree.