Tree preservation orders are placed on trees that are of significant visual or environmental importance to an area. The pruning or removal of branches, roots or live vegetation requires the express written permission of the council and failure to get this permission may result in enforcement action, even prosecution for this criminal offence, of both the person undertaking the works and the person who instructed the works.
If you wish to carry out any work to Tree Preservation Order trees you must apply to the council on the standard tree application form or via the planning portal (see useful website right). Express written permission must be received from the council prior to any work starting.
Once an application is received by the council an acknowledgement will be sent out to confirm it has been received. If an acknowledgement letter has not been received by the applicant with 14 days of being sent it is strongly recommended that the applicant contacts the Tree and Landscape Section as it is likely that it has not been received by the council. Proof of posting is not proof of receipt by the council so always check if you wish to avoid delays.
A Tree Preservation Officer will make contact with the applicant or agent to see the tree and assess the work being applied for and the reasons being given to justify the work. If the officer has concerns about the extent of the pruning or the removal of the tree, they will discuss this with the applicant or owner and offer a more appropriate or acceptable specification of works (if an alternative specification is at all acceptable) before preparing a draft report for approval by the Head of Service.
The council aims process applications within 8 weeks however in some cases additional supporting information may be required before the council is able to issue a decision notice. In these cases the applicant can appeal to the Secretary of State, but the case officer dealing with the Tree Preservation Order pruning or felling application will usually contact the applicant to the obtain information required.