Planning and the Trees on Your Property

23 Nov 2017


If you are planning to construct and there are trees on your property close to the designated project area then you are likely to encounter the complexities of a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).


A TPO is an order made by a local planning authority in England to protect specific trees, groups of trees or woodlands. Even if there is no Tree Preservation Order on the trees around your property, they can still have a significant impact on your property design and will influence the planning permission decision. 


The TPO will prohibit the cutting down, topping, lopping, uprooting, wilful damage or wilful destruction of trees without the local planning authority’s written consent. Normally, unless a Woodland TPO is proposed, only trees over 3.5m in height are considered for a TPO. Hedges, bushes and shrubs, however, will not be protected.


Most specialists in this area will quote the recommendations from the BSI's BS5837 publication: Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction. This publication recommends that you consider the surrounding trees at a very early stage in the design process and ensure that your projected work will not not impact them. 


The key to gaining Planning Permission, in so far as trees are concerned, is to be able to demonstrably prove that none of your projected work falls into the Root Protection Area (RPA). The RPA is calculated as being 12 times the diameter of the tree. If none of your projected work falls within this zone then it is generally accepted that there will be no impact to the surrounding trees. 


On the other hand, if your projected work does fall within the RPA zone then you will normally need to engage a Tree Officer to produce a Tree Survey, an Arboricultural Method Statement and a Tree Protection Plan. Typical fees for these services range from £500-1000 but can increase significantly if there is a 'Watching Brief' that requires an arboriculturalist to be present on site during the construction phase.  


We encourage anyone with any concerns or queries concerning trees on their property to contact us for advice as this is a complex area with a direct impact on gaining planning permission.

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