Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) & Trees in Conservation Areas

Learn about Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) and Conservation Areas, find out how you can get consent for works and see other frequently asked questions.

IN THIS ARTICLE

  • What Tree Preservation Orders and Conservation Areas are, and the difference between them.
  • How to find out whether your tree(s) is protected.
  • How to get consent to carry out works to protected trees.
  • Other frequently asked questions that we receive about protected trees.

What is a Tree Preservation Order (TPO)? 

A Tree Preservation Order is put in place to preserve single or groups of trees which are of acknowledged amenity value. This means that the trees are protected to maintain the natural beauty of a place or area. A TPO can also be put in place if the tree provides habitat to wildlife. 

The following works to trees protected by TPOs are prohibited unless we are able to provide you with written consent:  

  • Cutting down 

  • Topping - removing all the top branches of a tree 

  • Lopping/Pruning - removing branches 

  • Uprooting – completely removing the tree & its roots 

  • Cutting the roots 

If we are able to give you consent for the works you are proposing then this may be subject to conditions which need to be followed.  

 

What is a Conservation Area? 

Conservation Areas are areas of natural beauty or of special architectural or historic interest. Works in Conservation Areas are controlled or restricted to project or improve the character or appearance of the area.  

Works to trees in Conservation Areas also require consent. If we are able to give you consent for your proposed works then this may be subject to conditions which need to be followed.  

 

What is the difference between a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) and a Conservation Area? 

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) relate solely to individual or groups of trees. They are put in place to preserve the natural beauty of a place or area and to protect the habitats of wildlife.  

Conservation Areas can be put in place for a number of reasons, they can be for protecting the natural beauty of the area, or for preserving special architectural work and places of historic interest. Conservation Areas can be spread over wide areas, for example a whole village could be within a Conservation Area.  

Trees in Conservation Areas are protected as part of preserving the amenity value of the area, so even if the tree(s) isn't protected by a TPO, you still need to apply for consent for works to it.  

A tree can also be protected by a TPO and be within a Conservation Area.  

 

How do I know if my tree(s) is protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or is within a Conservation Area?  

You can check whether your tree(s) is protected by a TPO or if it is within a Conservation Area using our interactive map.  

Using the map legend on the right side of your screen you can select which filters you see on the map. To see TPOs and Conservation Areas, scroll down the map legend and tick the box next to 'Tree Preservation Orders' and if you drop down 'Planning Constraints' you will then be able to tick the box next to 'Conservation Areas'. Trees with TPOs are circled in green and Conservation Areas are highlighted in light blue.  

If your tree(s) is protected by a TPO then this should also be specified in the deeds to your property. 

 

How do I get consent to carry out works to my tree(s)? 

You can apply for consent by downloading the form, filling it in and sending it to Colchester Borough Council, Rowan House, 33 Sheepen Road, Colchester, CO3 3WG

Alternatively you can apply online through the Planning Portal. 

If you are not the owner of the property where the tree is you can still apply for Tree Works Consent – you will just need to get written consent from the property owner to send in with the application.  

The process can take up to 8 weeks for a decision to be made once we have received your application and validated it. We respectfully ask that you do not call to chase the application until the 7th week if you haven't already heard from us. Please be assured that we will deal with your application as quickly as we can.  

 

How much is it to apply for Tree Works Consent? 

Applying for Tree Works Consent is completely free – there is no charge.  

 

Can the Council provide written consent that my tree(s) is not protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) and/or a Conservation Area? 

No – it is part of our policy that we do not confirm in writing that individual trees are not protected as protection details need to be cross-checked with the deeds to the property.  

Any details of tree protection on your property should be written in your deeds. If you can’t find anything then you can check our interactive map for TPOs and Conservation Areas.  

Using the map legend on the right side of your screen you can select which filters you see on the map. To see TPOs and Conservation Areas, scroll down the map legend and tick the box next to 'Tree Preservation Orders' and if you drop down 'Planning Constraints' you will then be able to tick the box next to 'Conservation Areas'. Trees with TPOs are circled in green and Conservation Areas are highlighted in light blue.  

If you can see that your tree(s) is protected then you can request a preservation order from our Land Charges team

 

Do you offer a service where you can give me advice on the condition of my tree(s) and carry out works? 

No – we do not offer this service. It is up to you, the applicant, or the tree surgeon you employ to assess the condition of trees, decide any works that may need to be carried out and if necessary - with consent if the trees are protected - arrange for them to be done. 

 

I would like the Council to make a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) for a tree/group of trees. How do I go about this?  

Tree Preservation Orders can only be used to protect selected trees and woodlands if their removal would have a significant impact on the local environment and its enjoyment by the public. If you think this might be the case please email us at planning.services@colchester.gov.uk and provide your name, telephone number and as much information as you can, so we can discuss further with you.

 

Where can I see copies of consents given for works to trees with TPOs or trees in Conservation Areas?  

You can see frequently updated lists of consents given here: 

 

Do the Council pay for any works to protected trees once consent has been granted? 

No – it is up to you, the applicant, to arrange and pay for the works. 

 

Works are being carried out to a tree(s) protected by a Tree Preservation Order/within a Conservation Area, is this allowed?    

The work is allowed as long as consent has been given prior to the works starting.  

Please note that we have no influence over works being carried out to trees that are not protected by TPOs or Conservation Areas.  

Please check on the lists of consented/agreed works to check whether consent has been given. 

If you cannot see details of the consent given on either list you will need to report a planning breach to our enforcement team