Tree Preservation Orders ( TPO )

What is a TPO ?

A TPO is a legally enforceable order made by the Local Planning Authority ( LPA ) to protect trees, groups of trees and woodland which make a contribution to the amenity in its area. The decision to make a TPO are made under powers contained in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Town and Country (Tree Preservation) (England) Regulations 2012.

The principal effect of a TPO is to make it an offence to cut down, uproot, top, lop, wilfully damage or wilful destroy a protected tree without the consent of the LPA . Apply for consent to work on a protected tree.

What types of tree can be protected by a TPO ?

All species of tree of any size may be protected by a TPO. A TPO cannot protect hedges, bushes or shrubs

How do I find out if my tree is protected by a TPO ?

To check if your tree is protected, please contact us on 0300 123 5014 with the address of where the tree is located and we will endeavour to respond to your request within two working days.

Making a TPO

The LPA may only make a TPO where it appears to them to be expedient to protect a tree, group of trees or woodland which make a significant contribution to amenity. This may include trees that are in danger of being felled or under threat due to proposed development.

If you think a tree should be considered for a TPO , write to the LPA with details of the location of the tree and why you think it should be considered.

The LPA will consider the merit of protecting trees by undertaking an objective assessment based on their contribution to amenity and impact on the local landscape. The assessment is carried out in accordance with Government advice contained in Tree preservation orders  and trees in conservation areas. The document advises the LPA to develop ways of assessing the amenity value of trees for protection in a structured and consistent way.

  • The evaluation will consider the following criteria:
  • The condition of the tree(s) and an assessment of future life expectancy.
  • An assessment of the potential threat to the tree and whether it is expedient to make a Tree Preservation Order.
  • A Landscape appraisal will assess visual prominence, landscape setting, presence of other trees and function and suitability of the tree(s) to the site.
  • Future benefits the tree might provide, growth potential, age and assessment of wildlife habitat.

A report will then be submitted to the Development Management and Building Control Manager for recommendation to make the Order. If a decision to make the Order is justified, the LPA will serve the Order on those affected.

How do I object to or support a TPO ?

Any objections, or support for the Order must be made in writing to the LPA within a minimum period of 28 days for the date of the Order being served. The LPA will consider your comments when deciding whether or not to confirm the Order.

If there are no objections to a TPO , it will be confirmed by the LPA following the 28 day period for consultation.

Where objections are made, the objections will be considered by the North or South Area Planning Committee and elected members will determine whether to confirm the Order, not confirm the Order or to modify the Order.

When does a TPO become effective?

Under the  Town and Country (Tree Preservation) (England) Regulations 2012 a TPO becomes effective on the date it is made. The TPO will lapse after six months unless it is confirmed by the LPA .

What does a TPO Control?

A TPO prohibits the cutting down, topping, lopping, uprooting, wilful damage or wilful destruction of designated protected trees, groups or woodlands unless written permission has been given by the LPA .

There are some exceptions where permission is not required by the LPA where:-

  1. cutting down trees in accordance with a Forestry Commission Grant Scheme, or where the Forestry Commission has granted a Felling Licence.
  2. Cutting down or pruning a tree:
    • Which presents an urgent and serious safety risk. You must give written notice (by letter or e-mail) to the LPA as soon as the work becomes necessary.
    • Which is dead. You must give 5 working days notice (letter or e-mail) to the LPA before carrying out the work..
    • So far as is necessary to implement detailed planning for which permission been given by the LPA.
    • In a commercial orchard, or pruning fruit trees in accordance with good horticultural practice.
    • To prevent or control a legal nuisance (what constitutes a legal nuisance should be first determined by your solicitor or legal representative).
    • In compliance or obligation under an Act of Parliament.
    • In connection with proposed activities by a Statutory Undertaker, implementation of an Order under the Highways Act, for national security purposes, at the request of the Environment Agency, or request of a Drainage body in relation to drainage works.
  3. The removal of dead branches from a living tree.

Further details are available in the Communities and Local Government document Protected trees a guide to tree preservation procedures (PDF, 91KB) .

Penalties

Any one who commits an act in contravention of a TPO is liable, on conviction in a Magistrates Court, to a fine of up to £20,000. For serious offences, a person can be committed for trial in the Crown Court and if convicted, can be liable to an unlimited fine.

Copies of TPO s

Copies of TPO s can be obtained from the Council at a cost of £55.00 (including VAT) or £5.50 for one extract. They can be purchased by credit card over the phone on 0300 123 5014. Cheques should be made payable to Cheshire East Council. 

TPO s can also be viewed at Macclesfield Town Hall or Delamere House, Crewe by prior appointment: Please telephone 0300 123 5014 to arrange an appointment .

Conservation Areas

Anyone proposing to cut down, or carry out work to a tree in a Conservation Area, whether or not it is covered by a Tree Preservation Order, is required to give the Local Authority six weeks prior notice of their intent to carry out the work. The Local Authority then has the opportunity to give consideration to the tree's contribution to the character and amenity of the area and if necessary make a Tree Preservation Order to protect it.  See tree work applications

There are currently 76 designated Conservation Areas in Cheshire East.

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