Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)

What is a TPO and how to apply for one


Guidance on managing and submitting applications on trees covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or within a Conservation Area:

TPO applications and Conservation Area notifications should be submitted through the Planning Portal

 Notices should:

  • Clearly describe the extent of the tree work, the location and why it is an exception.
  • Include a map and photographic evidence or specialist reports as appropriate.

Notices can be sent to either: or

Tree Services, Eastleigh House, Upper Market Street, Eastleigh SO50 9YN


TPOs are administered by Local Planning Authorities (LPA) (for example a borough, district or unitary council or a national park authority) and are made to protect trees that bring significant amenity benefit to the local area. This protection is particularly important where trees are under threat.

All types of tree, but not hedges, bushes or shrubs, can be protected, and a TPO can protect anything from a single tree to all trees within a defined area or woodland. Any species can be protected, but no species is automatically protected by a Tree Preservation Order.

A TPO is a written order which, in general, makes it a criminal offence to cut down, prune, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree protected by that order, or to cause or permit such actions, without the authority’s permission. Anyone found guilty of such an offence is liable. In serious cases the case may be dealt with in the Crown Court where an unlimited fine can be imposed.

To make an application to carry out tree works you will need to complete an application form and submit it to the LPA. The form can either be submitted through the Planning Portal or directly to the LPA. You can find out more about TPOs in the Department for Communities and Local Government guide The National Planning Policy Framework document with particular reference to Tree Preservation Orders and trees in conservation areas. 

Unless work is urgently necessary because there is an immediate risk of serious harm, you must give five working days prior written notice to us before cutting down or carrying out other work on a dead tree. Our consent for such work is not required.

The exceptions allow removal of dead branches from a living tree without prior notice or consent.

Tree owners, their agents and authorities should consider biodiversity. Dead trees and branches can provide very valuable habitats for plants and wildlife, which may also be protected under other legislation.

To conserve biodiversity it can be good practice to retain dead wood on living trees and at least the lower trunk of dead ‘ancient’ or ‘veteran’ trees unless safety reasons justify their removal. Safety has priority, but it may not be necessary to remove all dead branches on living trees or the whole of a dead tree. It may be helpful to seek expert arboricultural and ecological advice.

Where a dead tree not covered by the woodland classification is removed, the landowner has a duty to plant a replacement tree.

Where a tree presents an immediate risk of serious harm and work is urgently needed to remove that risk, tree owners or their agents must give written notice to us as soon as possible after that work becomes necessary. Work should only be carried out to the extent that it is necessary to remove the risk.

In deciding whether work to a tree or branch is urgently necessary because it presents an immediate risk of serious harm, the Secretary of State’s view is that there must be a present serious safety risk. This need not be limited to that brought about by disease or damage to the tree. It is sufficient to find that, by virtue of the state of a tree, its size, its position and such effect as any of those factors have, the tree presents an immediate risk of serious harm that must be dealt with urgently. One consideration would be to look at what is likely to happen, such as injury to a passing pedestrian.

If the danger is not immediate the tree does not come within the meaning of the exception.

Where a tree is not covered by the woodland classification and is cut down because there is an urgent necessity to remove an immediate risk of serious harm, the landowner has a duty to plant a replacement tree of an appropriate size and species.