What is a Tree Preservation Order?
A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is a special form of control that applies to certain trees. TPOs are placed by Local Planning Authorities to protect trees that are particularly attractive and contribute to the appearance of an area. A TPO makes it illegal to cut down, prune, or otherwise damage a tree protected by a TPO without the council’s consent and the unauthorised lopping or felling of a tree is a criminal offence which can result in a fine of up to £20,000. If a tree is illegally felled to facilitate development then the fine can be raised to the cost of the development value.
What is an Area TPO?
An Area (or blanket) Tree Preservation Order protects the trees located within an area defined on a map. An Area TPO applies to all the trees that were in existence at the time the TPO was made, so it is often necessary to establish the age of a tree to know whether or not it is protected by an Area TPO. The council will occasionally make area orders and then resurvey out the order to cover specific trees at a later date.
What is a Woodland TPO?
A Woodland Tree Preservation Order protects all trees located within the woodland defined on the map. The TPO applies to new trees including saplings and seedlings that subsequently grow even after the order was made to protect the integrity and longevity of the woodland.
What types of trees are protected?
Any species of tree can be protected by a TPO and all types of trees can be protected from individual trees to entire woodland. However TPOs do and cannot protected hedges, shrubs or bushes.
If a tree is healthy and sound, usually visible from a public place and/or is considered expedient in the interests of amenity to protect it is a candidate for a TPO.
Are fruit trees protected?
Tree Preservation Orders made prior to August 1999 cannot include fruit trees. Since August 1999 (when the Regulations controlling TPOs were changed) fruit trees may be included in TPOs made after that date, but the Council's consent is not required to prune a fruit tree as part of its normal cultivation. A fruit tree is defined as a tree cultivated for the production of fruit, such as apples, pears, plums and cherries. Whilst a number of trees produce 'fruit' that may be eaten (such as walnuts, sweet chestnuts and mulberries), they are rarely cultivated specifically for the production of fruit and would be protected by a TPO. Ornamental crab apple trees, cherry and pear trees are also included.
I think my tree is dead - can I remove it?
A protected tree that is dead, dying or dangerous is exempt from protection and can be removed without consent and no application need be made. However, the onus of proof rests with the landowner and claims are frequently made that trees are dangerous when in fact that is not the case. If you plan to remove trees triggered by the exemption it is advisable to provide the council with a five days notice of intent which will allow the council to make an assessment and made a decision accordingly. There is a legal duty to plant a replacement tree under these circumstances.
How can I find out if my tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order or is within a Conservation Area?
You can ring the Planning Department on 01274 434605 to find out if a tree is protected.
Alternatively the TPO files can be viewed at the Jacob's Well offices during normal office hours. If you are intending to view any TPO file we would ask that you ring us first at least 24 hours beforehand on 01274 434605 so that an officer can prepare the files that you need.
How can I obtain a copy of a Tree Preservation Order?
The original TPO served on your property would have been done so free of charge. However there is a cost of £25 + VAT for any additional copy. You can pay this over the phone by ringing 01274 434605 or alternatively cheques should be made payable to Bradford Council and sent to:
Enforcement & Trees Team,
Please quote the TPO reference number and the specific address or area that the TPO covers.
My tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order. How can I apply for work and how long will the process take?
You will need the application forms for work to trees. These may be found in the Make a Planning Application section.
You should carefully read the forms because it is important that the council receives the appropriate and correct information. If the correct information is not provided then there is a likelihood that the application will be returned. Therefore we would usually recommend that a professional arboriculturalist submits the application on your behalf by properly defining the trees, the work required and the reasoning behind requiring the work.
We aim to formally respond to your TPO application within 8 weeks of the application being deemed valid and 86 percent of the time we achieve this. However we would like to increase our response rate. This can be achieved with your help. Please do not ring us before the 8 week period comes to an end. Up to 30% of our time can be spent dealing with enquiries about the stage of the application and this actually delays us dealing with your application. Help us help you.
Is there a charge for making an application?
There is no charge for a TPO application.
Will the council pay for my protected tree to be pruned?
All landowners are responsible for their own trees and any work required. The council will therefore not pay for the work.
Will the council accept responsibility for my tree if I am not allowed to cut it down and then it causes damage?
If the council refuses permission to work on a protected tree and damage subsequently occurs that was reasonably foreseeable then a claim for compensation can be made under certain circumstances. However in such cases the council would advise you to seek professional legal advice.
My TPO application has been refused. What are my next steps?
Details of the appeals process will be shown on the decision letter. You can also find further information by visiting the Planning Inspectorate’s website. There is no charge for this service.
I have been allowed to remove a tree but on condition that I replant. Where can I obtain a new tree?
The Trees Team on 01274 434605 can provide further advice about this or alternatively you should speak with your arboriculturalist.
Can protected trees be felled to enable development to take place?
If a planning application is received to develop and protected trees are affected then the trees will be assessed as part of the planning process.
What do I do if I think someone has or is working on a protected tree without consent?
Contact the Trees Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01274 434605 immediately and we can check to see if the work is authorised. If the work is not authorised we will investigate and take appropriate action. All queries regarding potentially unauthorised works will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.
How can I apply for a tree to be protected by a TPO?
The Council will only make a Tree Preservation Order if it can be demonstrated that the tree is under threat. If this is the case and the tree looks healthy and stable, is visible from a public place or it is expedient in the interests of amenity and its removal would significantly harm the appearance of the area.
The Council can consider written requests (only) to protect trees. Please email the Trees Team at email@example.com and detail the reasons why you think the trees ought to be protected.