What Is a TPO?

Today, we are going to tackle a question that we have been asked countless times over the years: What is a TPO? If you are planning a new development in an area where trees are currently growing or you have a notable specimen growing in an inconvenient location near an existing development, you have probably heard of a TPO but may not be sure exactly what it is and what it means. If this is the case, today’s brief guide will fill in the gaps in your knowledge.

So What Is a TPO?

A TPO is a Tree Preservation Order and, if you come across one in North East Scotland, it will have been issued by the local planning authority (LPA). TPOs provide legal protection for trees that are considered to possess amenity value. If you have a tree on your land that is protected by one of these orders, you will not be able to fell, lop, top or perform any type of potentially damaging pruning on the specimen in question.


Hundreds of thousands of TPOs have been issued since their inception early in the last century so you are quite likely to come across them in your line of work if you are a property developer. Even if you are only an individual property investor who acquires and renovates local residential properties for profit, you are likely to encounter a TPO sooner or later.


Can I Have a TPO Removed?

Once a TPO has been issued, it is very rare for them to be rescinded. With this in mind, we do not recommend applying to have a TPO removed if you should find one in your way when trying to complete a new property development in the area. However, don’t worry as this does not mean you will have to abandon your construction project. All you need to do is make a note of the trees that you wish to prune or remove on your planning application, together with their current location. If the application is approved by the LPA, this approval will automatically override the TPO, making it redundant.


Can I Ask for a Specific Tree To Be Protected With a New TPO?

If you are interested in ensuring that a notable tree or group of trees continues to thrive in the future rather than applying for permission to have it/them removed, you can ask the LPA to perform a TPO assessment. A TPO assessment is designed to determine whether there is a real threat to the tree or trees in question, what kind of condition they are in right now and what future benefits they may provide, among other factors.


If you require professional assistance with a specific TPO that is stopping you from proceeding with a new construction project or you would like us to help you apply for a new TPO, please do not hesitate to call or email us. As experienced arborists in North East Scotland, we have an in-depth knowledge of Tree Preservation Orders.

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