Tree Preservation Orders
A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is an Order made by the Council, giving legal protection to trees or woodland.
A TPO prevents cutting down, uprooting, topping, lopping, wilful damage or destruction of trees (including cutting roots) without the Council's permission.
Works to Protected Trees
If you wish to carry out works to a protected tree you must apply to the Council for permission.
Emergency Works to Protected Trees
If a tree is protected but is dead or dangerous then the normal application process is waived although you must give the Council five days notice of your intentions to carry out work. You can carry out work without prior notice if the danger is immediate, for example if a branch or the tree itself is in imminent danger of falling and will cause damage or injury if it does. If you intend to do this, you are strongly advised to collect evidence in the form of photographs, a tree surgeon's report and/or an independent witness statement. The Council may require you to prove that the tree was dead or dangerous at a later date.
Unlawful Works to Protected Trees
It is an offence to do work to a protected tree without the Council's consent. If a protected tree is damaged and/or destroyed without permission, the owner or person carrying out the work may be prosecuted and fined up to £20,000 and a replacement tree will also have to be planted.
If you see works being carried out that you suspect may be unauthorised, please contact the Council's Enforcement Team on 0300 303 8588. If, without putting yourself at risk, you are able to obtain information such as photographs or details of the contractor, this will help the Council in any subsequent action.
How to Get Trees Protected
Anyone who wants Mendip District Council to make a TPO should make a request in writing and provide a plan to show the location of the tree/s and the reasons why it is important to protect it. Any request will be considered against the following criteria:
- The extent to which the tree(s) can be seen by the general public and the amenity value
- The tree's particular importance in terms of its size, form, rarity, screening value or contribution to the character or appearance of a Conservation Area
- The significance of the tree(s) in their local surroundings and wider impact on the environment.
- The Council can also make a TPO as a precautionary measure but only if there is a very good reason to believe that the tree/s could be at risk in the immediate future.
The responsibility for maintenance and care of trees rests with the owner. If a tree is causing damage to your property, the tree's owner is liable for any claims for compensation and you must contact them directly.
You can only seek compensation from Mendip District Council if an application for works to or felling of protected trees is refused or granted with conditions and there is loss or damage to your property as a result of that decision. Further information can be obtained from the Council's Legal Services Department.
If you would like a copy of a Tree Preservation Order please email: firstname.lastname@example.org remembering to quote the order number.