How to Check a Tree Preservation Order

Today we are going to discuss how to check a tree preservation order: how to make sure that any tree you are planning to perform surgery on or remove is not protected by such an order. Failure to obtain permission before felling a protected tree or performing some type of arboricultural procedure on it could lead to a fine of up to £20,000. It is for this reason we decided to make tree preservation orders the topic of today’s post.


How to Check a Tree Preservation Order Before Felling or Pruning a Tree

There are many trees that are protected by a Tree Preservation Order in Scotland, some of which are notable specimens because of their age, some because of their history and some simply because of their striking features or rarity. Whatever the reason a tree is protected, you must never remove it or perform any type of surgery on it without first seeking permission to do so from the local authority. But how do you find out whether a specific tree is protected by a preservation order and, if it is, what can you do about it?


Checking for a Tree Preservation Order

The easiest way to ascertain whether a specific tree is currently protected by a tree preservation order is to get in touch with the team at your local planning office (or the planning office that is local to the site where the tree in question is situated if you are enquiring about a tree that is not on your property). In most cases, the local authority in question will be the local district, borough or unitary council, whichever is applicable in your corner of the country. There are no hard and fast rules as far as qualifying for a Tree Preservation Order is concerned: all types of trees in all types of locations could potentially be the subject of such an order. It is for this very reason that we always urge our clients to check before performing any type of surgery on a tree if they are at all unsure about its status.


Obtaining Permission to Prune or Remove a Protected Tree

If you discover that a tree you wish to remove or perform surgery on is protected by a Tree Preservation Order, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have to abandon your plans. In many cases, local authorities are willing to grant permission for deviations from preservation orders, enabling property owners to maintain or even remove specimens that are either posing a risk to people and property in the area or that require an arboricultural procedure for health reasons. If you wish to fell one or more trees on a development site, it is worth noting that you do not need to request permission to deviate from any preservation orders that may be in force. Tree Preservation Orders are issued under local planning laws, which means they are automatically overridden by any planning permission subsequently given. In other words, if you include details of your intention to fell protected trees in your planning application and it is approved, this approval overrides the preservation orders that are currently in place. Conversely, if planning permission has already been given for a specific development in your area, it is unlikely the local council would consider issuing a Tree Preservation Order for any tree that is growing on the site in question.


If you would like to find out whether a Tree Preservation Order is protecting a tree that you wish to fell, or you would like to hire a local professional to perform the necessary work, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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