You might have heard the term “protected tree”, but what does it mean? It’s a term from the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act, which gives legal protection to a shrub, single tree, or group of trees. It doesn’t matter what species of tree or how old they are, they can be covered by a Tree Protection Order (TPO).
Put simply, a TPO means you’re not allowed to cut down, lop or top, uproot, damage or destroy a protected tree. The council must be told of any work you propose doing to the protected tree, and you must wait for their consent, even if the tree is on your land. Doing work on a protected tree can land you with a fine of up to £20,000.
If you live in a Conservation Area, any tree with a stem over 75 mm in diameter is protected, and any work you want to carry out on it, even if that’s just something minor like pruning, needs to be approved by the local council beforehand. They’ll want to know exactly where the tree is, and the details of the work you’d like to do to the tree.
Your local council will most likely have a form on their website which you can print off and fill in if you want to do work on a protected tree. It’s strongly advised that you use an experienced tree surgeon to carry out works on a protected tree, to protect the tree and yourself.
Leaf Matters, based in Sevenoaks and covering nearby London and the whole of Kent, is approved to BS3998, and we’ll be happy to help you with your protected tree.