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Tree Preservation Orders (TPO)

The Local Planning Authority (LPA) has the power to make an Order to preserve trees or woodlands in their area in the interests of amenity. These Orders are known as Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs.)

A TPO prohibits the felling, lopping or pruning of trees (or any other wilful damage to them) without our consent.

Policy on making TPOs

The Council's policy is to make TPOs in order to ensure the retention of visually important trees in urban and rural locations, particularly where they are threatened by development. Consent to prune or remove trees protected by a TPO will not be given unless the Council is satisfied that it would be necessary to overcome a serious safety hazard, nuisance or detriment to local character, or is in the interests of the health of the tree(s). Where removal is permitted, appropriate replacements will be required (Policy 99 of the Dacorum Borough Local Plan 1991-2011).

Find historic Tree Protection Orders

Procedure for making TPOs

The Council may make TPOs without notice or consultation.

When a TPO is made, a copy will be available for inspection at the Council’s Offices. The TPO will be served on persons with an interest in the land and affected by the Order e.g. where branches overhang a boundary.

Once the Order has been made there will be a period of at least 28 days for any objections to the TPO to be made.

If objections are raised, the TPO is referred to the Appeals Committee – Tree Preservation Order. The Committee will take into account any representations received before deciding whether to confirm it or not. TPOs can be confirmed with or without modification.

If no objections are raised the TPO is normally confirmed by Officers.

Applications to do works to TPO trees

Once a tree is protected by a TPO, the owner must make an application for consent to carry out works to that tree. Consent is required for all pruning or felling that is not exempt from requiring permission (see below). These applications are dealt with on their merits. The LPA always takes expert advice from the Council’s Trees and Woodlands Team. Follow this link for application forms for works to trees affected by a TPO.

When consent is granted to fell a TPO tree, the Council can impose a condition that requires a suitable replacement to be planted. Pruning works can also be controlled by a condition.

If consent is refused an appeal can be submitted to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Details of how to appeal against a refusal or a condition are included with the decision notice.

All works to TPO trees should be carried out in accordance with British Standard 3998: 1989 "Recommendations for Tree Work". A list of tree surgeons is available from the Trees and Woodlands Team on request.

Exemptions from requiring consent

Normally, if a tree is dead, then the tree can be removed without formal consent, but please check with one of the tree officers first, giving at least 5 days notice.

Also, removal of dead branches and twigs (deadwooding) does not require consent but, again, you should check with one of the tree officers first, giving at least 5 days notice.

Except in an emergency (e.g. clear evidence of root ball movement) you must give at least 5 days notice of intention to carry out the above. It is in your interests to do this as you could be prosecuted if the authority thinks you have carried out unauthorised work.

Unauthorised works to TPO trees

Please remember that it is a criminal offence to undertake works to or fell a TPO tree without consent. Fines can be up to £20,000 in the Magistrates’ Court or in serious cases, unlimited in the Crown Court.

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