Tree Preservation Orders


No site visits are currently being undertaken

All applications relating to Tree Preservation Orders and trees in Conservation areas, are still being validated, assessed and determined as normal, wherever possible. Timescales on applications are therefore unaffected unless an extension of time has been agreed between parties.

All future tree work applications must be submitted online, either via the Planning Portal or emailed to

To be able to process applications, applicants MUST provide photographs and/or videos at the time of submitting their application.

Any queries relating to trees that are suspected to be dead, dying or dangerous, photographs and/or videos must be provided at the time of submitting an email to

These photographs or videos will need to show:

  • Trees from bottom to top
  • Tree within its location as a landscape photo
  • Evidence of the reasons mentioned in the "description of work"

What is a tree preservation order?

It is an order made by Three Rivers District Council 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. You can also establish whether a tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order, by completing our Online form

How can I get a copy of a TPO?

To request a copy of a TPO please complete our Online form

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

Check with Three Rivers District Council. 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 Three Rivers District Council 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?

Three Rivers District Council 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?

ThreeRivers District Council 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 Three Rivers District Council's permission before carrying out work on them, unless they are dying, dead or dangerous. Officers may be able to offer appropriate help and advice on how the trees should be managed.

Do you need to apply for tree works in a TPO area?

In order to complete the application for tree works, you will need to open and save the pdf to your computer. Alternatively you will need to print the form, complete the form, scan it and return to

Guidance Notes for TPO TCA Application Form (pdf)