All local authorities have a duty to protect significant trees for their amenity value.
Many trees in Torbay are protected by Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) under the Town & Country Planning Act 1990. Additionally, trees in Conservation Areas are automatically given similar protection status.
What do the different types of protection mean?
Tree Preservation Orders
A Tree Preservation Order, or TPO as it is commonly referred to, protects a tree under the 1990 Town & Country Planning Act. TPOs are usually made to preserve trees with landscape and amenity value.
TPOs can protect four main categories:
- Individual Specimens
It is illegal to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree protected by a TPO. If permission is granted for the removal of a tree subject to a TPO, the Local Authority can condition a replacement tree to mitigate its loss.
If you require a copy of any TPO on or affecting your property, please contact the Planning Department with the address details or, if possible, the reference number of the TPO.
Conservation Areas are sites designated by Torbay Council in recognition of their special built environment characteristics. All trees within the boundaries of a Conservation Area are protected and it is therefore illegal to lop, top, damage or destroy them without prior consent from Torbay Council. If a tree within a Conservation Area is felled there is no legal obligation to replace it unless the tree was removed because it was considered dead, dying or dangerous.
How do I know if a tree is protected?
Find Your Nearest TPO
Most people are aware that trees can have some kind of protection to prevent them being cut down, but mystery, myth and apocryphal tales are rife. However, when it comes to trees, as with anything else, ignorance is no defence in Law.
Please note: if this system shows a Tree Preservation Order or Conservation Area in/near the property please telephone for clarification. Do not solely rely on this system
Planning and Landscaping Conditions
Existing trees and hedgerows on sites where planning permission has been granted for development may be subject to conditions whereby no works may be carried out on them without prior consent from Torbay Council. The same conditions may apply to trees that were planted as part of an approved landscaping scheme in conjunction with the development. Trees in relation to new developments are regarded as a separate issue.
Making an Application for Tree Work on a Protected Tree
Once you have ascertained that a tree is protected an application form must be submitted to Torbay Council. You can make an application for tree works online via The Planning Portal.
If you wish to download a paper copy of the Tree Works Application form (for works to trees subject to a TPO or in a Conservation Area) please visit The Planning Portal website and follow the instructions to choose the correct form.
All applications must contain enough information and details in order for us to process the application, otherwise it may be returned to you to ask for further details.
We would be grateful if an email address could be provided in your application forms. Any applications which provide an email address will receive all correspondence via email.
To ensure that your application is validated first time, please remember the following:
- Please complete the any paper forms in pen; with full details of the applicant and/or agent and remember to sign and date the form.
- Please submit a clear location plan which identifies the tree (T1) and any other helpful points e.g. house, garden shed, compass point.
- When listing the proposed works please ensure you provide the works in full including measurements- many applications are made invalid because the crown reduction amount has not been identified.
- When describing the reasons for the works, please give as much detail as possible. If it is related to the condition of the tree, you may be asked for further information.
Once the application is registered Torbay Council has 6 weeks in which to make a decision in respect of trees in Conservation Areas, and 8 weeks in respect of trees protected by a TPO. You will receive an acknowledgement letter confirming the application reference and officer details.
If you are purchasing a new property, your solicitor should be able to inform you if any of the trees within the property’s boundaries are protected. For more advice for new homeowners please do not hesitate to contact us.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tel: 01803 207977
- Fax: 01803 207981
- Trees and Hedges Planning Forms