Tree Preservation Orders
A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is a legally enforceable order made by the Local Planning Authority (LPA) to protect trees and woodland in the interests of public amenity. The power to make a TPO is contained in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Town and County Planning (Trees) Regulations 1999 and 2008. The principal effect of a TPO is to prohibit the cutting down, uprooting, topping, lopping, wilful damage or wilful destruction of protected trees or woodlands unless permission has been given by the LPA. The making of a Tree Preservation Order is a legal process and once it has been made it is registered as a Local Land Charge and will be declared on any Local Land Charges Search that is carried out. Your solicitor would normally advise you of the existence of a Tree Preservation Order when you purchase your property.
Up to date Government guidance for Tree Preservation orders and trees in conservation areas is available in National Planning Practice Guidance
Consent for works to a tree protected by a Tree Preservation Order
It is an offence to work on a protected tree without consent and if unauthorised work takes place, the Council can (and does) take legal action which can lead to fines of up to £20,000, or twice the value of each tree, whichever is the greater. The Council's written consent is needed before any felling or pruning takes place. To give notice of work to tree(s) please complete the Application Form and refer to the Guidance Notes which cover trees both in and outside conservation areas. Please also refer to the Tree Validation List.pdf [pdf] 115K.
Tree Preservation Order Search
Please use our online Geographical Information System (GIS) to search for Tree Preservation Orders, as well as a selection of other information such as Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings.
Please note: The Tree Preservation layer was created by The Local Land Charges team and shows areas of land affected by an order, rather than the exact location or ownership of a specific tree. Please be aware trees may no longer be in place but still covered by a Tree Preservation Order.
Works to trees in conservation areas
All trees in Conservation Areas are protected if they have a stem diameter of 75 millimetres measured at 1.5 metres from ground level. In general, it is an offence under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for anyone to undertake work to a tree in a conservation area without giving the Council six weeks written prior notice. The notice period is for the Council to decide if the tree(s) should be protected from proposed work by a TPO.
Conservation Area Search
Here is a list of the Conservation Areas in Arun's district. If you are at all unsure please contact the Technical Support Unit on 01903 737711 and ask them to carry out a Conservation Area check.
Giving Notice of Tree Works in a Conservation Area
You must provide:
- Details of the location of the trees to which the notice relates, by reference to a plan if necessary
- Details of the tree work operations being proposed (The notice should clarify exactly what work is envisaged. Vague proposals to "prune" or "cut back" are not adequate. You are advised to present a clear proposal and should consider discussing ideas with an arboriculturalist before submitting a notice)
It is helpful if you also provide:
- Reason for proposed work, with reference to supporting evidence if necessary
- Details of ownership of the trees
It should be noted that it is not an offence to undertake work to a tree in a Conservation Area that is dead or has become dangerous. However, the burden of proof that work is exempt from the need for prior notice because of the condition of the tree(s) lies with the person carrying out the work. Anyone proposing to do work under this exemption is strongly advised to contact theTree Officer for advice before hand.
There are a number of exemptions to the notification requirement. You do not have to give the LPA six weeks notice for:
- Work on a tree with a diameter not exceeding 75mm (or 100mm if cutting down trees to improve the growth of other trees i.e. thinning operations). The diameter as measured at 1.5m above ground level. In case of multi-stemmed trees, the exemption only applies if the diameters of all the stems are less than 75mm or 100mm, as the case may be.
- Cutting down trees in accordance with a felling licence granted by the Forestry Commission or a plan of operations approved by the Commission under one of their grant schemes.
- Cutting or removing garden hedges (unless there are specific planning conditions relating to your property).
- Cutting or removing garden shrubs.
Please also be aware that sometimes there are Landscaping Conditions attached to a planning permission which would require a tree to be replaced should it be removed or die within a certain period. To check whether this is the case you would need to check the planning history to see if there is a planning condition. You can view recent planning decisions on line but you may have to visit the offices to view any records which are held on microfiche. The planning reception at the Civic Centre, Maltravers Road, Littlehampton BN17 5LF is open 8.45am to 5.15pm Monday to Thursday and 8.45am to 4.45pm Friday.
Requesting a Tree Preservation Order
Anyone can ask for a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) to be made you do not need to own the land. If you feel that certain trees or woodland merit such protection you need to write into the planning department giving the exact location of the tree, preferably with photographs and stating why you feel the tree should be protected. In order for a Tree Preservation Order to be made there has to be significant public visual amenity value.