Tree preservation orders

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There has been a lot of publicity recently about Chalara dieback of ash. For more information and who to contact to report suspected cases of the disease, please visit the Forest Research website or the Arboricultural Association website.

What is a Tree Preservation Order (TPO)?

A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is a legal, written order made by us that generally makes it illegal to...

  • cut down
  • prune the branches or roots
  • uproot
  • damage in any other way

...a tree covered by the Order, without our formal, written permission.

TPOs can cover anything from single trees to woodlands, but don't cover bushes or shrubs. Other laws cover the cutting down of hedgerows. Separate laws cover trees in Conservation Areas.

Why are some trees covered by an Order and some not?

We put a Tree Preservation Order on trees that are of special visual importance. TPOs protect the general public's enjoyment of the trees. They are particularly important when trees are in danger of being lost – for instance, where there is a planning application for a development that may threaten the trees.

Anyone can suggest to us that a TPO is put on a tree. We will then decide if it is of enough visual importance to the general public to make a TPO.

We will tell you in writing if we intend to make a tree on your land the subject of a TPO. You would have the right to object to us making a TPO.

You can view guidance on Tree Preservation Orders on the GOV.UK website.

What can I do if I have a tree with a Preservation Order on it?

Even if there is a TPO in place, the owner (rather than the Council) is still responsible for the tree.

Anyone who wants to prune any part of the tree or cut it down would usually need to get our written permission before they do anything to the tree.

The Courts may impose heavy fines or even imprisonment if work is done without permission on a tree covered by a TPO. One exception to this rule is where a tree is dead or dangerous.

How do I check if a tree is covered by a TPO or if work to a tree is being done legally?

We keep records of all trees covered by TPOs.

We make new TPOs frequently, so we advise you always to check with us before you do any works to any tree.

Contact us if you would like to check:

  • if a certain tree is covered by a TPO
  • whether works being carried out to a certain tree are authorised.

Where can I purchase a copy of an existing Tree Preservation Order?

Please contact our Local Land Charges if you want to purchase a copy of an existing Tree Preservation Order.

What can I do to my tree if I live in a Conservation Area?

If you live in a Conservation Area, even if your tree is not separately covered by a TPO, there are special protection for trees. You can check if you live in a Conservation Area by looking on the Interactive Map or by calling us on 01332 640429.

If you want to prune any part of a tree or cut it down , you usually have to tell the Council , in writing, before you do the work. We can tell you if the particular work you want is not covered by this law. By law you have to give us 6 weeks written notice of your intention to do the work, on the same form as you use to apply to do works to trees covered by a TPO.(see next section, below, on getting permission).

This notice is there to give us the  time to decide if we want to cover the tree by a TPO.  We don’t often do this though, and usually the Council writes to you after that time, to say we will not be making a TPO and then you can carry out the work to the tree you want to do.”

How do I get permission to do work to a tree with a TPO on it?

You will need to apply and explain which trees you want to do work on, what you want to do, and why.

You can do this by:

  • downloading the Application for tree works and guidance notes
  • contacting us for a free a site location plan to show where the tree is to accompany your application
  • contacting us for a paper application form (we will also send you the site location plan)
  • using the Planning Portal.

Find out more about planning applications. To ask for a free site location plan or paper application form:

What is the chance of getting permission for the work - and how long will the Council take to deal with the application?

We aim to decide applications in around eight weeks. We grant permission for most applications but, if we refuse it, you have the right to appeal to the Secretary of State for the Environment. We will explain how to do this if you receive the notice of refusal.

Find out more about planning applications. To see how your application is progressing:

Where else can I get advice or information on my trees or on TPOs?

You may find it helpful to consult a qualified tree surgeon to help you. The Arboricultural Association website, the professional body for tree surgeons, lists registered consultants and approved contractors. Or you can look under 'Tree Work' in telephone directories to find a qualified tree surgeon.

For more information about trees, the International Society of Arboriculture website has advice on tree care.

The GOV.UK website contains guidance on Tree Preservation Orders.

Read about techniques our Arboricultural Officers use when they do work on trees we are responsible for.

Contact details

Post address:
Derby City Council
Environment and Climate Change
Planning Division
The Council House
Corporation Street
Phone: 01332 640429
Minicom: 01332 640666
Derby City Council
Spatial Planning and Climate Change
The Council House
Corporation Street

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