When granting planning permission, the Local Planning Authority must make appropriate provision for the preservation and planting of trees.
The planting and maintenance of trees as part of a new development is frequently controlled by means of a landscaping condition attached to the planning permission. The protection of existing trees may be controlled by means of Tree Preservation Orders.
Making a tree preservation order
A Tree Preservation Order is made "in the interests of amenity" for specified trees, groups or areas of trees or woodlands.
The guidance for Tree Preservation Orders has recently been revised, please see Protecting Trees Guide April 2012 for answers to frequently asked question regarding tree preservation; also the Tree Preservation Order Guidance April 2012 which summarises the main changes to the tree preservation order system in England, consolidating the legislation into 1 new set of regulations.
Click here to submit an application for work to trees covered by a Tree Preservation Order, or works to trees within a Conservation Area.
The effect of the order
The consent of the Local Planning Authority is required to cut down, top, lop or uproot a tree covered by a Tree Preservation Order, unless such works are urgently necessary in the interests of public safety. The 1990 Act specified two offences in relation to contravening a Tree Preservation Order:
Wilful damage or wilful destruction - which can leave the offender open to an unlimited fine.
Other, lesser contravention, punishable by a lesser fine on summary conviction.
Continuing offences can leave the offender liable to an additional daily fine on summary conviction.
Refusal of Tree Preservation Order consent can involve the payment of compensation by the Local Planning Authority for any loss or damage which may result.
There is no right of appeal against the making of a Tree Preservation Order, only a right of objection at the consultation stage. There is, however, a right of appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against the Local Planning Authority's refusal to grant consent to fell and against any conditions imposed.
Trees in conservation areas
Special Controls are also applied to trees in Conservation Areas.