Tree Preservation Orders
What is a Tree Preservation Order?
A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is an Order that is made by the local planning authority (Hartlepool Borough Council) to prevent trees being cut down, topped, uprooted, wilfully damaged or wilfully destroyed.
What is the purpose of a Tree Preservation Order?
TPO's are made in order to protect trees and woodlands, usually on the grounds that they make an important contribution to the local landscape, but sometimes because of other special qualities, such as rarity or historic significance.
How can I find out if a tree is covered by an Order?
You can check for the presence of a TPO by using the TPO Search facility on the Council's interactive planning website, and a complete list of tree preservation orders in Hartlepool is available to download. Further details of all Orders are kept in the Council's Planning Services section at Level 1, Civic Centre, Victoria Road, Hartlepool.
To request to see a TPO in electronic format, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
What if I want to carry out works to a tree covered by a Tree Preservation Order?
A TPO does not prevent work from being carried out, but you will need the prior approval of the local planning authority.
Applications can be submitted online through the national planning portal, or by using a printable Tree Work Application Form and accompanying guidance note . If you are unable to print the application form and guidance note, please ring or write to the Council's Planning Services section to request one.
You may apply yourself, or ask your tree work contractor to do so on your behalf.
A visit will usually be made to view the tree, and the Council will make a decision within eight weeks of receiving your application.
It is an offence to carry out work to a tree protected by a TPO, or to remove it, without the prior approval of the Council. If convicted in a Magistrates Court, a fine of up to £20,000 may result if the appearance or condition of the tree is affected beyond recovery.
Courts have held that it is no defence to be unaware of the existence of a TPO, and it is possible to prosecute those who cause or permit unauthorised work, not only those who carry it out.
If a tree protected by a TPO has to be removed, it is usual to require a replacement of an appropriate size and species in the same general location.
There are certain exemptions from the requirement to obtain consent.
Work to a tree or part of a tree which is dead or dangerous does not require the Council's permission. However there may be other considerations, such as whether bats use the tree as a roosting site, and if so, the work may be restricted by other regulations.
Unless work is urgently necessary because there is an immediate risk of serious harm, anyone proposing to carry out work that they consider does not require the Council's permission must first notify the Council in writing and allow five working days for the Council to satisfy itself that the work is exempt.
No fee is payable when submitting an application.
Trees in Conservation Areas
Conservation Areas are areas of special architectural or historic interest.
In recognition of the special contribution that trees can make to the character and appearance of such areas, you are required by law to give six weeks notice of your intention to carry out any works to trees in Conservation Areas.
There are eight Conservation Areas in Hartlepool. Plans showing Hartlepool's Conservation Areas are available to download.
Notice can be submitted online through the national planning portal or by using a printable Tree Work Application Form and accompanying guidance note. If you are unable to print the application form and guidance note, please ring or write to the Council's Planning Services section to request one.
You may give notice yourself, or ask your tree work contractor to do so on your behalf.
A visit will usually be made to view the tree, and the Council will respond within six weeks of the date of your notice.
If it appears to the Council that the proposed works may not be appropriate, the Council may seek to protect the tree by making a Tree Preservation Order.
There are exemptions, similar to those in the TPO regulations, but it is in your interest to be able to justify your actions as the burden of proof rests on convincing the Council that you have taken appropriate steps.
Works to trees and hedges - wildlife considerations
Care should be taken when carrying out works to trees and hedges.
Under section 1(5)(a) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it is against the law to disturb or destroy birds listed under Schedule 1 of the Act at any time.
Further details of these can be obtained from the Council's Ecologist at the Civic Centre.
It is advisable to try and not disturb any birds that are nesting and to delay that particular task until later in the year.
Hartlepool Borough Council is not responsible for the content of any external websites and does not endorse any product or organisation contained therein
Hartlepool's Tree Preservation Orders
A list of the tree preservation orders currently in force in Hartlepool
Tree Works Application Form and Guidance Note
Planning Practice Guidance: Tree Preservation Orders and trees in conservation areas
National guidance that explains the regulations governing tree preservation orders and trees in conservation areas
Buying a tree with a house in the garden
An information note that is designed to answer some common questions that prospective homebuyers have about 'protected' trees
Tree Protection and Dangerous Trees (excepted work)
A note containing information about the 'dangerous' trees exception relating to Tree Preservation Orders and trees in Conservation Areas
Problems with Neighbouring Trees
An information note containing advice relating to problems with neighbouring trees
Bats and trees in England
A leaflet produced by the Bat Conservation Trust which outlines the legislation in relation to bats and tree work.
The leading body in the UK for amenity tree care
The government department responsible for the protection and expansion of Britain's forests and woodlands.
Telephone: 01429 266522