Tree Preservation Orders
These are made by the Local Planning Authority under the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 to protect individual trees, groups of trees or woodlands against felling, uprooting, lopping or other damage. Permission is required from the Council to fell or carry out works to a tree protected by a TPO.
You can discover if your property is near a tree the subject of a TPO by entering the post code of the property in the My West Oxfordshire area of the Council website.
Government Policy advice in regard to Tree Preservation Orders can be found on the Communities and Local Government website. This guidance is aimed at Local Planning Authorities but is a helpful source of advice for others interested in the tree preservation order system. However it should not be regarded as a definitive statement of the law. Anyone unsure of their legal rights or obligations should consult a solicitor.
To find out specific information about a Tree Preservation Order, Contact our Forestry & Landscape Officer on 01993 861662
Trees in Conservation Areas
Many of the historic towns and villages in West Oxfordshire have a distinctive character that is worthy of special protection and have been designated as conservation areas.
Whilst most of the legal implications of living in a conservation area relate to buildings and development, the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 makes special provision for trees in conservation areas.
Anyone proposing to cut down or carry out work to a tree in a conservation area is required by law to give us six weeks prior notice.
This gives the District Council the opportunity to consider whether a tree preservation order (TPO) should be made in respect of the tree or trees.
It is essential that you plan ahead if you intend to carry out work to trees as we must be given six weeks notice. Notification must be in writing, precisely and clearly describe the work proposed and include sufficient information to identify the location of the tree(s). A notification form is available from our planning team or online at www.westoxon.gov.uk/trees
Using the form should ensure that you provide the information necessary to enable your application to be dealt with as quickly as possible. You will receive a written reply before the end of the six week period.
It is a criminal offence to prune, fell or damage a tree in a conservation area without giving notice.
There are a number of exemptions and the most common ones are given below.
You do not have to give six weeks notice for:
1. Work on a tree with a diameter less than 75mm (or 100mm if cutting down trees to improve the growth of other trees ie. thinning operations). The diameter as measured at 1.5m above ground level.
In the case of multi-stemmed trees, the exemption only applies if the diameters of all stems are less than 75mm or 100mm, as the case maybe.
2. Cutting down trees in accordance with a felling licence granted by the Forestry Commission or a plan of operations approved by the Commission under one of its grant schemes.
3. Cutting or removing garden hedges (unless there are specific planning conditions relating to your property).
4. Cutting or removing garden shrubs.
5. Work so far as is necessary to implement a planning permission.
Dead, Dying Or Dangerous Trees
There are also exemptions from the need to give us six weeks notice before cutting down or carrying out work to trees that are dead or have become dangerous.
However, the law is quite complex. Determining whether a tree falls within the scope of the exemptions is not always a straightforward matter. If you are in any doubt please contact our planning services team prior to carrying out work.
Removing dead branches from a living tree(s):
* No notice required.
Works to trees that are 'dying':
* Six weeks notice must be given.
Work to a tree that is dead or has become dangerous:
* Five days written notice must be given unless it has become so dangerous that it requires immediate action.
In this case, please inform the District Council of the work as soon as possible. Work to trees that are considered to be dangerous can take place without the need to give notice but only when they are urgently necessary to remove an immediate risk of serious harm. For example cutting of a dangerous branch. Any additional works that are not urgently necessary can be done but need to be agreed in writing by the District Council before any works can be undertaken.
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