Torbay Council is committed to protecting trees in the bay and have recently undertaken a successful prosecution whereby there was a contravention of a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

Mr and Mrs Churchward of Kendlewood Close, Paignton were found guilty on the 11 September, in Newton Abbot Magistrates Court, of undertaking works upon trees in contravention of a TPO.

Six charges were brought against the defendants. There were three of wilful damage to three trees and three of having destroyed three trees.

Mr and Mrs Churchward both pleaded guilty to all offences and the Court imposed a total fine of £3130 of which £700 was awarded as costs to Torbay Council.

Executive Lead for Community Services said, Cllr Robert Excell, said: “Many trees in Torbay are protected by Tree Preservation Orders and trees in Conservation Areas are automatically given similar protection status.

“Torbay Council is committed to the ongoing protection of our outstanding natural heritage of trees within Torbay, and will actively use its powers whenever necessary to pursue offences against protected trees.”

A Tree Preservation Order, or TPO as it is commonly referred to, are usually made to preserve trees with landscape and amenity value. TPOs can protect four main categories:

  • Individual Specimens
  • Group
  • Woodland
  • Area

It is illegal to cut down, top, lop, uproot, willfully damage or willfully destroy a tree protected by a TPO. If permission is granted for the removal of a tree subject to a TPO, we can condition a replacement tree to mitigate its loss.

For more information on TPOs on or affecting a property visit the TPO page.

Conservation Areas are sites designated by us 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 us.  

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.

Before carrying out work, people need to find out whether the tree is subject to a Tree Preservation Order or is in a conservation area. 

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