Tree Surgeon and Tree Preservation Orders


Tree surgeons may spend a lot of their time working on trees but they will also have to spend some time deciding what can and cannot be done to them. Neighbours often have disputes regarding trees and one will want it to be removed whereas the other will argue that it should stay. Often the people who want the tree to stay will try to get a tree preservation order put on the tree meaning that it cannot be cut down and often there are strict limits as to what can be done regarding cutting it back. This will involve the local council.

Tree Surgeon and Tree Preservation Orders

Tree Preservation Orders

It can be just one tree or often a group of trees that will have a tree preservation order (TPO) on them.  The law will state that they are protected and before any work can be carried out on them there will be the need to get permission from the local council.  If you intend to have work carried out on a tree it will be best to check with your local council that the tree does not have a preservation order on it even if it seems unlikely that it will have.  
The council will have put the preservation order on the tree.  This is normally meant to prevent people just removing trees because they find it too inconvenient to work around them.  It is not only the fact that the tree could be felled or pruned back too much it would ruin the look of the area.  It may also mean that people would not be prepared to bring in a qualified tree surgeon but would try to do the job themselves.

If the tree does have an order on it the council will require a request form to be filled in.  Most councils will have these forms on their website and they will have guidelines to help you fill it in.  The planning department will know if a tree is protected or if it is within a conservation area.  The tree surgeon will give the council information and advice as to what should be done to the tree.  If they recommend felling it will be difficult to argue against the word of a professional and often they will provide the report that will go to the council’s planners.  If the decision is not the one the customer wants they will also be able to help with an appeal.

What is Not Allowed?

  • the cutting down of the tree
  • uprooting the tree
  • topping or crowning the tree
  • any lopping
  • any wilful damage regardless as to whether or not this is in an attempt to remove the tree
  • any wilful destruction even if total removal is not planned.
One thing that is not covered is cutting back the roots.  Although this is not specifically mentioned it will still be advisable to get the permission of the local planning authority before any work is carried out on a tree with a TPO on it or one that is in a conservation area.