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Tree preservation orders

Trees and hedges are a key element of our countryside, but they also have a major part to play in urban areas.

Trees and hedges in private gardens, parks and other open spaces, or lining the sides of our streets, railways, rivers and canals are of great importance to people, particularly in residential areas. They can also provide valuable habitats for wildlife, improve the air we breathe, and help to conserve energy in nearby buildings.

Trees may be protected by tree preservation orders (TPOs) or other legal procedures to make sure that they are not lost or damaged needlessly. We can issue a TPO for specific trees. Trees that are exempt from TPOs are those that are dead, dying, diseased or dangerous and fruit trees grown for the commercial production of fruit.

TPOs prohibit the cutting down, uprooting, topping, lopping, wilful damage or wilful destruction of trees without the local authority's consent. The maximum penalty for carrying out works to TPO trees without consent is £20,000.

Reporting a problem tree

If you want to report a tree you think is dangerous or need advice on whether a specific tree is covered by a TPO please tell us its location.

Should formal permission be required, there is a statutory procedure for applying to undertake work. In the event of permission being withheld, the applicant has a right of appeal to the Secretary of State. Where consent is granted to fell a protected tree, a condition to plant a replacement will normally apply.

If you are unsure about the status of trees which you intend to prune or fell (or you simply require further information) you should contact your local district/borough council. Dorset County Council is not responsible for tree preservation orders so please do not contact them.

Apply to or contact your district or borough council

Find more about tree preservation orders in your area or contact your council:

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