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Tree Preservation Orders

Information about Trees

The Tree & Landscape Unit is part of the Leisure & Community Services section, which aims to provide a high quality service that offers a mix of activities for all ages and abilities. Everyone who uses one of our services is entitled to:

  • A high quality service, delivered by welcoming, skilled and helpful staff
  • A fair and equal access to all services
  • Safe, clean and well maintained buildings and equipment 
  • A prompt and full response to suggestions or complaints

Find out more on Tree Management

We are lucky to have a varied population of trees within the District, both privately owned and within council owned parks and open spaces. Oak, Ash, Hornbeam, Field Maple, Beech, Birch and Hawthorn all contribute to the character of the district which is now 78% Greenbelt. The Council has a policy to protect trees which make a significant impact on the local surroundings.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a tree preservation order?

  • It is an order made by us which in general makes it an offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree without the planning authority’s permission.

What is the purpose of a tree preservation order?

  • To protect trees which make a significant impact on their local surroundings. This is particularly important where trees are in immediate danger.

What type of trees can be covered by an order?

  • All types, including hedgerow trees, but not hedges, bushes or shrubs. The order can cover anything from a single tree to woodlands.

How can I find out if a tree is covered by an order?

  • Details of orders are available for inspection at the Council offices. An official search of the local land charges register can also be made before you purchase a property. This should reveal the existence of a tree preservation order (or whether your property is in a conservation area). Make sure your solicitor tells you if any trees are protected.

If I see work being carried out on a protected tree, how can I find out if the owner has permission?

  • Check with us. We have a register of applications and decisions which you can look at.

There are trees which I think should be protected what can I do?

  • Contact us with details of the trees and the reasons why you think they should be protected. However, if the Forestry Commission has given aid under a forestry grant scheme, a tree preservation order can only be made with the Commission’s permission.

Does an order come into effect immediately?

  • We may make an order which comes into effect immediately and remains in force for up to six months.

How will I know when a local planning authority makes a tree preservation order?

  • We will write to the owner and other interested parties, enclosing a copy of the order.

How can I object to or express support for an order?

  • If you or anyone else wants to object to or support an order, write saying why and giving details of the relevant trees. The planning authority will take these comments into account when it decides whether to confirm the order. When the authority confirms the order it can modify it, for example by excluding some of the trees.

Does Three Rivers District Council then become responsible for looking after the trees?

  • No. The owner remains responsible for the trees, their condition and any damage they may cause. But you still need our permission before carrying out work on them, unless they are dying, dead or dangerous. We may be able to offer appropriate help and advice on how the trees should be managed.

Looking for a professional tree surgeon?

Simply visit the Arboricultural Association and type in your postcode to find  arborists near you.

Application for Tree Works: works to trees subject to a tree preservation order (TPO) and/or notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area (pdf)

Guidance Notes for TPO TCA Application Form (pdf)

Hedgerow removals

It is important that you read the accompanying guidance notes and help text before completing your application form as incorrect completion will delay the processing of your application.

Hedgerow removal application (pdf) or apply online.

Tree ManagementTree Preservation Orders