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Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) and Application Forms

This page provides general information in respect of Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) including the process in which they are served and the implications of owning a protected tree.

Trees and woodlands that are considered important to amenity, and can be protected by a tree preservation order. You can request a tree to be considered for protection, or if a tree is already protected, you must have consent to carry out works to the tree.

Local planning authorities have specific powers to protect trees by making tree preservation orders. Special provisions also apply to trees within Conservation Areas designated by the local planning authorities. Below is a list of frequently asked questions in respect of tree preservation orders. If you are in any doubt over your responsibilities or the implications of owning a protected tree you should consult with the Trees and Landscape section.

You can use our Interactive Mapping Online Tool to view and confirm the location and TPO reference for trees that require works (please note you cannot submit a copy of our Interactive Map with your application due to copyright issues).

Application Form

We welcome and encourage applications submitted electronically.

Guidance Notes

Validation Checklist

Related pages

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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What is a tree preservation order?

A Tree Preservations Order is an order made by the local planning authority which in general makes it an offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree without the permission of the planning authority.

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What types of trees can be covered by the order?

All types, including hedgerow trees, but not hedges, bushes or shrubs.

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How can I find out if a tree is covered by an order?

Details of orders are available at Sedgemoor District Council's offices either by telephone or in writing, and are available online in Interactive Mapping Online. The presence of a TPO should also be revealed in any local search carried out prior to purchasing a property. The search will also reveal whether the property is in a conservation area.

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How will I know when a Tree Preservation Order is made?

Sedgemoor District Council will write to the owner and other interested parties, i.e. neighbouring landowners, enclosing a copy of the order.

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Does Sedgemoor District Council then become responsible for the trees?

No. The owner remains responsible for the trees, their condition and any damage they may cause. However permission is required before carrying out any work on them.

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What happens if I carry out works to a protected tree without permission?

If you deliberately destroy a tree or damage it in a manner likely to destroy it, you could be fined up to £20,000. For other offences you could be fined up to £2,500. In most cases a replacement tree must be planted.

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Do I always need the local planning authority's permission to work on a protected tree?

Yes, except for:

  • Cutting down trees in accordance with one of the Forestry Commission's grant schemes, or where a felling licence has been granted
  • Cutting down or pruning back a tree which is dead, dying or dangerous following consultation with the local planning authority
  • Where such works are in line with an obligation under an Act of Parliament
  • Cutting down a tree which is directly in the way of development for which detailed planning permission has been granted
  • In a commercial orchard
  • To prevent or control a legal nuisance

Always check with the local planning authority before commencing any works.

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What are the restrictions in a Conservation Area?

Trees not the subject of Tree Preservation Orders are protected if within a Conservation Area. You must give Sedgemoor District Council six weeks' notice in writing if you want to carry out any work on them, and no work must take place during that period. If you do, you could be fined as outlined above.

Find more information on the Trees in Conservation Areas and Application Forms page.

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How do I apply to undertake works to trees covered by a tree preservation order?

Application forms are simple to complete and there is no charge made by Sedgemoor District Council to process an application. Please contact us for more information or to request an application form or click on related links below.

Application Form

Guidance Notes

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How can I found out if a decision has been made regarding an application for works to a tree with a TPO?

You can find any details regarding applications for works to trees with Tree Preservation Orders on the Councils' Planning Online tool.

pdf Tree Preservation Orders (TPO's) FAQ [298.25KB]