Tree Preservation Orders
Updated: Mar 24, 2019
Most of us can think of a particular tree or area of woodland that means something special to us. There are a multitude of reasons why some of our trees must be protected. In some instances, the building of new housing developments threatens our green space and removes areas of woodland that have stood tall for hundreds of years and are of high amenity value to the community. In other instances, a single veteran tree is highly worthy of protection due to its historical or cultural significance. A prime example of this found right on our doorstep would be the famous Birnam Oak, celebrated by Shakespeare himself in Macbeth. Likewise, the age of a tree alone can provide a valid reason for protection as it's no easy feat to reach an age of over 2000 years, the current record held by the oldest tree in Scotland, found here in the Perthshire village of Fortingall.
So what is a Tree Preservation Order? This is the legislation that exists here in Scotland to prevent the deliberate removal or damaging of valuable trees like those listed above. Your local council Planning Authority will have the role of managing TPO's in your area. A tree preservation order can be applied to an individual tree or a particular group of trees and covers all trees within the protected area which have a stem diameter of 75 millimetres or above, measured at 1.5 metres from ground level. It is an offence for any person to cut, lop, top, uproot, willfully damage or destroy any tree located within a conservation area or covered by a Tree Preservation Order. The Council takes this very seriously and any violation can result in swift and expensive court action.
It is not particularly common to have a TPO covering trees within your garden but it certainly does happen so before arranging any work, it is vital that you or your chosen tree surgeon has checked that the relevant trees are not listed under a TPO. Luckily for us, Perth and Kinross Council have made this very simple by providing an interactive map of all TPO's and Conservation areas within the region. You can access that map here to check if you are affected http://www.pkc.gov.uk/heritagemap
If you find that the tree you had planned to work on IS in fact under a TPO, there is no need to panic. Consent to work on the tree may still be granted by the Council if you provide a valid reason e.g. a structural defect .The application process recommends you support your reasoning in the form of a recommendation from a suitably qualified tree surgeon or via a tree survey completed by a qualified surveyor. It's actually a fairly straight forward process and most tree surgeon's would be happy to assist with the paperwork if required. However, it's important to allow a little time for this as Perth & Kinross Council currently require a minimum of 6 weeks notice to consider applications. Similar rules will apply to those who discover that their trees fall within a conservation area, although this covers buildings etc as well as the trees themselves.
Although we are tree surgeon's here at Cortis Land & Tree Management, a huge amount of our work actually relates to the protection and preservation of trees for the future. As such, we are huge supporters of TPO legislation and we consider the vast green spaces of Perth and Kinross to be integral to the charm and beauty of our area. If you have any questions at all relating to TPO's, please don't hesitate to contact us.
If you have a tree or group of trees in mind that you feel may be deserving of a TPO, please get in touch with Perth and Kinross Council Development Managament.