New data: TPO (Tree Protection Order)

Across the UK, hundreds of thousands of Tree Protection Orders are in place, covering a wide array of trees in both urban and rural settings - our new dataset can help you avoid protracted legal battles.

June 4, 2024

If you're planning to build on an existing residential property or are considering a new development on a piece of land, it's important to pay attention to any trees already there. Checking for Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) should be a key part of your land assessment process, as these orders can affect your plans significantly.

What is a Tree Preservation Order (TPO)?

A Tree Preservation Order is an order made a local planning authorities to safeguard trees with significant value and preserve local woodlands.

These orders prohibit cutting down, topping, lopping, uprooting, wilful damage and wilful destruction of trees without the local planning authority’s written consent.

A TPO can apply to any tree, no matter its size or species. If your project is in a conservation area, every tree there is automatically covered by a TPO. You'll need to get planning permission for any work involving these trees.

There are four types of TPO, although any one Order can contain any number of items which can be of one or more types. The types are as follows:

Individual: can be applied to an individual tree.
Group: can be applied to a group of individual trees which, together, make up a feature of amenity value but which separately might not.
Area: a type of TPO not normally made now but still common. It covers all trees in a defined area at the time the order was made.
Woodland: covers all trees within a woodland area regardless of how old they are.

Damaging or destroying a protected tree is a criminal offence. If you don't get permission from the council, you could be prosecuted and face a fine ranging from £2,500 to £20,000.

Why developers need to know about TPOs

If you buy a property or a land parcel with TPO-protected trees, you are responsible for their care and maintenance. The responsibilities include seeking consent for any work affecting the trees' health or structure - which can lead to a protracted process. However, if planning permission is granted for a site and the felling of a tree protected by a TPO is included in the application, then planning permission outweighs any protection that the TPO may have offered.

A screenshot of the TPO layer in Searchland
Tree Protection Orders as shown in Searchland

New data: TPO

To assist developers in identifying Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) during land assessments, we’ve introduced a new data layer to our robust planning constraints data tools.

Depending on the order, you'll be able to identify individual trees or specific areas that are protected by a TPO.

As usual, you can view the data as a visual layer, find it in the title overview in our planning tool and use it in our sourcing tool to filter in/out opportunities that contain TPOs.

If you'd like to see the TPO layer in action, simply arrange a demo with our team. And if you'd like any help dealing with TPOs head over to our friends at Planning Geek.

July 9, 2024

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