Yes - sometimes. There are a number of trees throughout the town that are protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). The order makes it an offence to cut down, uproot, prune, damage or destroy the tree or trees in question. The tree under order can be of any size, species or age and prevents anyone from doing works to a tree judged by the local authority to contribute to the character of an area.
A TPO does not mean that the council now owns the tree nor does it mean that they are responsible for the cost of its maintenance.
If you do work to a protected tree without permission you are committing an offence and could be subject to a heavy fine, up to £20,000 for destroying a tree and up to £2,500 for anyone who does not completely destroy a tree but has carried out some other works without consent. If you plan to carry out work to a tree it is important to check with the planning department to make sure it is not protected by an order.
It is important not to confuse trees subject to TPOs with trees located within conservation areas ; the legislation is completely different.
On April 6, 2012, the new TPO Regulations 2012 came into force. The regulations simplify the process, and all TPOs, regardless of when they were made, will now come under the new regulations. The streamlined regulations will not change current levels of protection for trees.
The principle changes that may affect you are as follows:
The government department for communities and local government has published the following document explaining the main changes to the Tree Preservation Order system: Planning (Tree Preservation) (England) Regulations 2012.
Where the guidance/legislation above differs from the council guidance - SPG6 Trees , the former documents take precedence.
Not sure if the tree is protected?
If you wish to confirm whether a particular tree is protected by a TPO or is within a conservation area, you can complete the Request for Information Form . By completing this form and providing a sketch plan of the location of the tree you will be assisting us to accurately identify the relevant tree.
You can use links in the Related Pages section on the right hand side of this page to check the location conservation areas or alternative use the request for information form above.
If you live in a conservation area you should be aware that trees in these areas are also protected. However, unlike Tree Preservation Orders, protection within a conservation area is limited to any tree with a stem diameter of more than 75mm (approx 3 inches) measured at 1.5 metres (approx 4 feet 10 inches) above ground level.
You must notify the council (section 211 notice) at least six weeks prior to commencing any work on a tree. Anyone who cuts down, uproots, tops, lops, wilfully destroys or wilfully damages a tree in a conservation area without giving a section 211 notice (or otherwise in contravention of section 211) is guilty of an offence.
A section 211 notice does not have to be in any particular form but it must describe the work proposed and include sufficient particulars to identify the trees. We would recommend that you use the standard application form for works to trees.
If you would like to make an application to carry out works to trees subject to a TPO or in a conservation area please use the standard application form and guidance notes. Click on the link to the Planning Applications Forms page to view the form and help text. We would strongly recommend that you seek the advice of a professional arboriculturist/tree surgeon before making an application.
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Crawley Borough Council,
West Sussex, RH10 1UZ