A tree preservation order (TPO) is an order made by the council which makes it an offence to carry out any of the following works without the consent of the council:
- Cut down
- Wilful damage or
- Wilfully destruction
All species of trees which are considered to have public amenity value can be made the subject of a TPO. This protection does not include hedges, bushes or shrubs.
Applications to fell or carry out works to trees protected by a TPO should be determined within 8 weeks of the application being received. If the decision is not made within this time the applicant may lodge an appeal with the Secretary of State against the council's failure to make a decision.
It is an offence for anyone to contravene the provisions of a TPO. Anyone found guilty of this offence is liable, if convicted in a magistrate's court, to a fine up to £20,000.