Tree Preservation Orders


Many trees in the Breckland district are protected by a preservation order. These are trees of a high amenity value or which have a significant impact on the environment and have been identified by the council and protected by an order.  If you wish to check if your tree is covered by a Tree Preservation Order please access our public facing mapping system. This system can be accessed on the My Maps section ofMy Breckland

What is a Tree Preservation Order?

A Tree Preservation Order is a legal document intended to ensure important trees are preserved.

It can be made by a local planning authority in England to protect specific trees, groups of trees or woodlands in the interests of amenity. An Order prohibits the:

  • cutting down
  • topping
  • lopping
  • uprooting
  • wilful damage
  • wilful destruction

...of trees without the local planning authority's written consent. If consent is given, it can be subject to conditions which have to be followed. In the Secretary of State's view, cutting roots is also a prohibited activity and requires the authority's consent.

The law on Tree Preservation Orders is in Part VIII of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended and in the Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation) (England) Regulations 2012 which came into force on 6 April 2012. Section 192 of the Planning Act 2008 made further amendments to the 1990 Act which allowed for the transfer of provisions from within existing Tree Preservation Orders to regulations. Part 6 of the Localism Act 2011 amended section 210 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 concerning time limits for proceedings in regard to non-compliance with Tree Preservation Order regulations.

Where a tree preservation order (TPO) is made under Section 198 of the Town and County Planning Act 1990, the tree or group of trees are identified on a location plan. Copies of the order are served on the owners of land upon which the trees are growing, and on the owner occupiers of affected and joining properties.

Once an order has been made, the consent of the council is required before a tree may be pruned or felled. In certain circumstances, it may be agreed that pruning or removal may be permitted in order to accommodate development, but the TPO enables the council to control these actions and to obtain new planting to replace trees which are removed.

Tree Preservation Orders are not intended to prevent any work ever being done to a tree. They are intended as a way to balance the sometimes conflicting desires of individuals with the benefits to the wider community.

What are my responsibilities as an Owner of a Protected Tree?

Owners of protected trees must not carry out, or cause or permit the carrying out of, any of the prohibited activities without the written consent of the local authority. As with owners of unprotected trees, you are responsible for maintaining trees in your ownership, with no statutory rules setting out how often or to what standard. The local planning authority cannot require maintenance work to be done to a tree just because it is protected. However, the authority can encourage good tree management, particularly when determining applications for consent under a Tree Preservation Order. This will help to maintain and enhance the amenity provided by protected trees.

Arboricultural advice from competent contractors and consultants will assist you as an owner in determining your responsibilities and options. It is important that trees are inspected regularly and necessary maintenance carried out to make sure they remain safe and healthy.

Useful Guidance

Should you wish to apply for works to trees covered by a Tree Preservation order please follow this link to ourTree Work Applications page for more information on what you need to do.

Trees in Conservation Areas

Conservation Areas are parts of towns and villages that have been identified as being of special architectural or historic interest. The council aims to preserve or enhance the character of these areas.

Trees are included as part of the definition of character. Accordingly all trees with a trunk diameter of 75mm or greater measured 1.5m above the ground, carry the same protection and penalties that they would have if they were covered by a Tree Preservation Order.

Should you wish to carry out work to any trees in a Conservation Area, you are required to give the Council six weeks notice of your intentions and the reasons for them. The Council reserves the six-week period in which to make a Tree Preservation Order if it wishes to retain the tree, or declare that it has no objections. If no TPO is forthcoming, work may proceed henceforth.

Is my tree in a Conservation Area?

To establish whether your tree is in a designated Conservation Area contact us with an address and if at all possible a location plan identifying the tree(s) in question. If the site is in a Conservation Area and is not protected by a Tree Preservation Order, then before you carry out any work you need to complete a Notice of Intention to carry out work to tree(s) in a Conservation Area.

We have six weeks from receiving the Notice to decide whether to allow the work to go ahead, or serve a Tree Preservation Order to prevent it

Should you wish to apply for works to trees situated within a Conservation Area please follow this link to ourTree Work Applications Page for more information on what you need to do.

Last updated: 19/05/2020 10:08:32