Small Woodland Owners' Group

Tree Preservation orders

Paperwork, grants, legal issues

Postby tracy » Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:28 am

Margaret and Cathrine write:

A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) makes it an offence to \"cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy\" a tree under the protection of an order without the planning authority\'s permission (Town and Country Planning (Trees) Regulations 1999). It may be applied to those trees that are considered to make a significant contribution to their environment. It can apply to a single tree or woodlands, and trees within conservation areas. It does not apply to hedges, shrubs or bushes (but does cover hedgerow trees).

Who Issues and Administers TPOs?

The Local Planning Authority keeps a register of TPOs. They will be able to tell you if a particular tree or trees are on the register. If you had an official search of the local land charges register at the time of purchase, this should have revealed any existing TPOs.

How Does This Affect Small Woodland Owners?

Good woodland management is like sculpture, what you remove is just as important as what you leave. In practice, if you have a Woodland Grant Scheme that covers your woodland you will not need to worry about TPOs. This is because, at the time you apply for your WGS, the Forestry Commission (which administers the WGS) consults with the Local Planning Authority and after that, as long as you keep to the terms of the WGS, it overrules any TPOs. In our experience, the Forestry Commission are very helpful and will assist you in putting together your application, and help to tailor a management plan which will meet your objectives for your woodland. It is worth applying for a WGS for this reason even if you don\'t really need the grant (which on a small woodland is not huge). Within the provisions of your plan you can do anything you like, but you are not penalised for doing less than you intended.

What If I Want to Do Some Felling?

If your plan is to fell a significant number of mature trees, you will need a Felling Licence, also from the Forestry Commission. They will grant this usually if the trees are mature and ready to harvest, and you have some plan for replacing them. The replacement can be by planting and subsequently weeding and protecting young trees. Or it can be by natural regeneration. This latter means leaving the land alone and seeing what emerges in the way of self-seeded trees, then a few years later filling gaps with planting. They will also agree to you felling immature conifers if you have serious plans for replacing them.

See also:

\"Tree Preservation Orders: A Guide to the Law and Good Practice\" on the Communities & Local Government site:

Forestry Commission site: English Woodland Grant Scheme

In Scotland:

In Wales:

Any comments? Questions or more advice?

Posts: 1313
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 6:30 pm

Return to All things legal

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest