Q. My tree is covered by a Tree Preservation Order; does this mean I can do no work to it?
No, but it does mean that the consent of the Local Planning Authority is required before any work can take place.
Q. How do I get the District Council's consent?
An application has to be made to the Local Planning Authority. There is no cost for the application, which usually takes between 6 and 8 weeks to process. The necessary forms are available from the LPA. You must not undertake any work until you have their consent.
Q. Are there any exemptions from a Tree Preservation Order?
Yes, if the tree is dead, dying or dangerous. Even in this case, the Local Planning Authority requires 5 days' notice in writing before any work commences on such a tree. This gives them an opportunity for the tree to be inspected. If an emergency situation arises, the District Council should be notified at once and photographs taken of the tree before any emergency action is taken. All timber should be retained for inspection. You will be required to plant a replacement tree if the tree is felled.
Q. What are the fines for contravention of a Tree Preservation Order?
If the case is taken to a Magistrates Court then the fines are up to a maximum of £20,000 per offence.
If the District Council decides to take the matter to a Crown Court then the fines are unlimited and are often related to the amount of money the offender stands to gain as a result of the contravention.