TPO Information

What is a TPO?

A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is the legal mechanism to protect and preserve trees for public enjoyment, environmental, and aesthetic purposes.  Woodlands and non-commercial orchards are covered, but bushes, shrubs and hedges are not.

What does a TPO mean for a tree or woodland?

If a tree or woodland is protected by a TPO, anyone wishing to carry out management work, or to remove the tree, will need to get permission from the local planning authority (usually the local Council).

If permission is not sought from, and given by the Council, then the Council has the ability to prosecute which could result in a fine between £2,500 and £20,000!

In theory, it means the woodland or tree is protected from development and destruction unless authorised.  Any work on a TPO tree or woodland will appear as an application on the TPO map.

Can you cut down or damage trees in a TPO woodland?

No, all the trees and their root systems are included.  However, Rhododendron is considered as an invasive species and can be removed.

Who issues TPOs?

The local authority.  For Wokingham it is Wokingham Borough Council (WBC).

Can a TPO be on private or public land?  Do the same rules apply?

Yes, TPOs can be on both public and private land and the same rules apply.

The WBC TPO map shows the woodland around Woosehill – both public and private – which was granted blanket TPO status in the 70s and 80s.  Check out the TPO map.

What happens if you believe or suspect a TPO is being violated either on public or private land?

Check the local TPO map to see if the tree or woodland you are concerned about is on the TPO map.

Report it to the Tree Officer at the Council by contacting WBC Customer Services on 0118 974 600 and ask to be transferred to the Trees & Landscape team.  It is good to include your local ward Councillor in any correspondence as they can also help.  Always follow up any report you make.

What happens if trees are cut down or cleared? 

Anyone damaging or carrying out work on a tree protected by an Order without getting permission from the local planning authority, is guilty of an offence and may be fined.

Can the cleared land be absorbed into residential/industrial/recreational use?

In theory, no.  Any removal of dead trees must be replaced or left to regenerate.

If consent is given to remove a tree, then the Council may impose a condition requiring replacement planting.  The authority can enforce tree replacement by serving a ‘Tree Replacement Notice’.

Some woodland owners take very good care of their woodland.  However, the reverse can be true.  It is up to members of the public to let the authorities know when TPO woodlands and trees have been destroyed or are under threat.  Then, in theory, they will take appropriate action.

To download the PDF, please click here.

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