Solicitor Kayleigh Chapman, in our leading Planning & Environmental law team, explains Tree Protection Orders (TPOs).
What is a Tree Protection Order (TPO)?
Tree Protection Orders (“TPO”) are orders made by a Local Planning Authority (LPA) to protect trees, groups of trees or woodland “in the interest of amenity”. Where a TPO is made a person is unable to:
- Cut down
- Wilfully damage; or
- Wilfully destroy
that protected tree(s) without first obtaining written consent from the LPA. The above prohibitions apply even if the tree(s) is diseased or dying unless an exemption applies.
What action can be taken?
Section 210 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (“the Act”) confirms that a criminal offence will have been committed if a person:
- (a) Cuts down, uproots or wilfully destroys a tree; or
- (b) Wilfully damages, tops or lops a tree in such a manner as to be likely to destroy it; or
- (c) Causes or permits the carrying out of any of the activities in paragraph (a) or (b)
Any person who commits the above offence is liable to a fine.
Section 210 of the Act provides that Local Planning Authorities (LPA) should take action within 6 months of evidence sufficient in the opinion of the prosecutor to justified commencing proceedings coming to the LPA’s attention. Notwithstanding this, criminal proceedings cannot be bought more than 3 years after the date the offence was committed.
In addition, Section 206 of the Act places a duty on the landowner to replace a tree if it was removed, uprooted or destroyed in contravention of the TPO. If the landowner does not do so then the LPA may serve a notice (Tree Replacement Notice) in accordance with Section 107 of the Act requiring the landowner to replace a tree.
For further information or legal advice, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0118 951 6800.
This article is intended for the use of clients and other interested parties. The information contained in it is believed to be correct at the date of publication, but it is necessarily of a brief and general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific professional advice.