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Tree Preservation Order Breaches
Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) often present a number of practical issues when it comes to planning and development, especially as a breach of such an order is considered to be a criminal offence. That is why, if you are concerned about the implications of a TPO, or you are worried about the consequences of breaching one, having the right legal advice on your side is essential.
Our highly experienced regulatory defence solicitors advise individuals and developers on a range of issues related to TPOs and can provide advice and representation if you are alleged to have caused a breach.
Get in touch with our Tree Preservation Order solicitors in Bournemouth by giving us a call, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by filling in our online enquiry form.
What our Tree Preservation Order solicitors can do for you
If you are accused of breaching a TPO, our top priority is to protect your legal rights and provide you with the best possible chance of achieving a positive outcome – no matter what your individual circumstances might be.
We understand that it may be daunting to be accused of committing a criminal offence, especially if you were not aware a TPO was in place or you were not aware of what the implications would be. Whatever the case, our team will be by your side to guide you through the stages involved in investigating a TPO breach.
Our team will carefully review your case, the actions you have taken and exactly what the TPO stipulates. From here, we can work with you to protect your liberties, working to remove the charges against you or minimise penalties where this is not possible.
Why choose Renshaw Derrick’s Tree Preservation Order lawyers?
The financial penalty you can potentially face for breaching a TPO can be severe, not to mention the fact that, if you are a developer, you could also face significant reputational damage. So, it should go without saying that having a specialist TPO law specialist on your side is absolutely essential.
We are a leading form of criminal law solicitors, providing the highest quality legal services to individuals and businesses across Bournemouth, Poole and the wider Dorset area.
We only specialise in criminal law, which means we have developed a wide range of niche skills in this area, including dealing with TPO breaches.
Our team are also able to provide support during regulatory investigations, such as TPO breaches, which helps individuals and businesses work to preserve their reputation, protect their commercial interests and work with authorities to reach the best possible resolution.
Our firm are members of the Law Society Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme for our independently recognised skills in this area.
For information about each member of our team, visit Our People page.
Frequently asked questions about Tree Preservation Orders
What is a Tree Preservation Order?
A TPO is an order which is made by a local planning authority in England. The purpose of TPOs is to protect certain trees, or groups of trees and woodlands, ‘in the interests of amenity’. This essentially means that, if a TPO is in place, anyone is prohibited from:
- Cutting down;
- Wilfully damaging; or
- Wilfully destroying
certain trees without the explicit (and written) consent of the relevant local planning authority. It is also important to note that, even if consent is provided by the local planning authority, it will usually still be subject to various conditions, which also have to be strictly followed.
Failing to follow the terms of a TPO or the conditions stipulated in a consent form from the local planning authority is considered to be a criminal offence.
Who makes and enforces Tree Preservation Orders?
As mentioned above, local planning authorities make and enforce TPOs. They can make and enforce them if it appears to them that it is ‘expedient in the interests of amenity to make provision for the preservation of trees or woodlands in their area’.
Authorities can either initiate this process themselves, or they can respond to a request which is made by a separate party. When deciding whether a TPO is appropriate or not, local planning authorities are encouraged to consider what amenity and expedient mean in practice, the types of trees that should be protected and how they can be accurately identified.
If an authority grants planning permission, they also have a duty to ensure that planning conditions are used to provide for tree preservation and planting. Orders must be made in respect of trees where it appears necessary in connection with the grant of permission.
What penalties can you face for breaching a Tree Preservation Order?
Section 210(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 advises that anyone who is found guilty of breaching a TPO by:
- Cutting down;
- Wilfully damaging; or
- Wilfully destroying
a tree is liable, if prosecuted in the Magistrates’ Court, to face a fine of up to £20,000. In the most serious cases, a person may be committed for trial in the Crown Court and, if convicted, could face an unlimited fine.
Section 210(3) provides that, in determining the details of the fine, the court will take into account any financial benefit which has supposedly resulted or is likely to result from the breach.
If you are found guilty of breaching a TPO, you will also be required to replace any trees that have been removed, uprooted or destroyed.
How do I know if I need to follow a Tree Preservation Order?
If a TPO has been issued, the local authority is required to serve ‘persons interested in the land affected by the Order’ with:
- A copy of the Order; and
- A notice (Regulation 5 notice) containing specific information
The authority must also be able to prove that these steps have been taken.
It will usually be possible to find out whether a tree or group of trees is protected by a TPO by directly contacting the relevant local authority. When doing so, you will usually be required to attach a site plan which marks out the boundary of the area you are looking to develop.
Are there any exceptions to Tree Preservation Orders?
There are certain exemptions that may allow landowners and developers from having to seek the local planning authority’s permission before carrying out work on trees that are subject to a TPO. These exemptions could include work which is related to:
- Dead trees and branches
- Dangerous trees and branches
- Complying with an Act of Parliament
- Preventing or abating a nuisance
- Implementing planning permission
- Dealing with fruit trees
- Statutory undertakers
- Highway operations
- Environment Agency and drainage bodies
- National security purposes