Find out about Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) and trees in conservation areas.
The law protects certain trees and groups of trees. It is an offence to carry out work to trees that are covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or that are in a conservation area, without telling us.
Advice for private tree owners
- Before you do any work on a tree, you should always contact us to find out if the tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order, planning constraints, or if it is in a conservation area
- You should always use a professional tree surgeon, who will be covered by public liability insurance
- Never employ house callers or leaflet droppers claiming to be professional tree surgeons
- Reputable tree surgeons will always have some proof of their professional identification and qualifications. Always ask to see it
- You will find a directory of reputable tree surgeons on the Arboricultural Association's website. You can also contact us for further advice
Tree Preservation Orders
Tree Preservation Orders help councils to protect important trees and to have some control over their management. Our policy is normally to protect trees that are under threat. We will also consider protecting trees that are useful or desirable where the threat is less obvious.
To find out if a tree is covered by a Tree Preservation Order, please contact our conservation administrator using the contact details on this page.
Alternatively, if you already have the TPO reference and would like to view a copy of the TPO document and map, please see our Tree Preservation Orders in Rushmoor page.
You must not cut down, uproot, top, lop, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree covered by a TPO without our consent. The maximum penalty for carrying out work to TPO trees without consent is £20,000.
If you want to carry out appropriate work to TPO protected trees, you must make a planning application. You can apply for permission through our Apply for planning permission page, which will take you to the forms you need. If we grant consent, it will usually carry a time limit and a condition that the work follows best practice as set out in BS 3998 tree work.
Before you make a planning application, we would encourage you to get in touch with us to talk through what you want to do and what's possible.
You can see a list of applications for work on trees covered by TPOs by reading the TPO register document on this page.
Trees exempt from TPOs
The following are exempt from TPO protection:
- Trees that are dead or dangerous and fruit trees grown to produce fruit commercially
- The removal of dead of fractured tree limbs
- Work to comply with the Highways Act
Ask us about any other exemptions.
Information on the law and best practice
You can find out more about the law and best practice on Tree Preservation Orders from the Communities and Local Government website.
Trees in conservation areas
All trees in conservation areas that have a stem diameter of more than 75mm are subject to statutory protection.
If you want to cut down or carry out work to a tree in a conservation area, you must notify us, giving us at least six weeks' notice. This is to allow us time to consider whether we need to protect the tree further with a Tree Preservation Order.
The easiest way to make sure we have all of the information we need to consider your proposal is to apply through our Apply for planning permission page. As with TPOs, there are exemptions to this. The offences and penalties for carrying out unauthorised work are also similar to those covering TPO protected trees.
Before you notify us that you would like to carry out work to a tree in a conservation area, we would encourage you to get in touch with us to talk through what you want to do and what's possible.
Our tree enforcement policy
We have adopted a Tree enforcement policy [95kb] to explain how we will take enforcement action against unauthorised works to protected trees.