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Trees and Tree Preservation Orders


The owner of a tree has a responsibility to ensure that it does not become a danger to other parties, including neighbours. Regular inspections are advisable to identify the appearance of rot, fungus or disease which can render a tree dangerous. An owner who is negligent in these responsibilities may be held liable if a falling tree causes damage. This is particularly important when branches overhang the public highway. An owner may formally be requested to remove dangerous branches by the Highway Authority. Utility companies, such as electricity, gas, water and telecoms have some powers to remove trees or branches which interfere with their services.

Check the health of your trees regularly; you could be liable for them.


Tree Preservation Orders

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) are orders to protect groups or individual trees that make a significant contribution to local surroundings.  The Council can make a TPO if it considers that a single tree, group of trees or a woodland makes an important contribution to the amenity of the area or is under threat. It is an offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree without first getting permission from the Council.  The Law on TPOs is in Part VIII of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 ('the Act') and in the Town and Country Planning (Trees) Regulations 1999 ('the 1999 Regulations') which came into force on 2 August 1999. There are over 200 TPOs in force throughout the Borough. A statutory register of all protected trees is available for public inspection at the Borough Offices upon request. The Council is happy to consider suggestions from the public for TPOs, especially where trees of high quality are found to be under threat. The Council does not place TPOs on trees within their ownership.


Making an Order

A recommendation for an Order can be authorised by the Chairman of the Council's Planning and Regulatory Committee. An Order can be made immediately effective for up to six months. The Order is served on the owner who has 28 days in which to make any objections. The Council will then determine whether or not to confirm the Order. The Order is recorded in the Council's Land Charges Register and with the District Land Registry. If you buy or sell a property with a TPO, this will appear in the local search.


Responsibility for care of trees

The owner(s) of the land on which the tree(s) are situated remain(s) responsible for the trees. They must carry any financial cost involved in the management of the trees. However, the Council's consent must be sought before any works to protected trees are carried out.


Applying for consent for tree works

An application should be made in writing to the Council if a tree has a TPO on it or is within a conservation area, specifying the trees affected and the nature of the works proposed. The Council has six weeks then in which to issue a decision notice. Planting of a replacement specimens will normally be required when consent is given to remove protected trees. In carrying out works to trees, specialist advice should always be sought. The Council's tree officer will assess the application and a consent notice will be issued.


An application form to request works to a tree must be completed and submitted to the Council. Advice for completing the form is also available.  


If the Council refuses permission to carry out works then an appeal can be made to the Secretary of State within 28 days of the receipt of the Council’s notice. Application forms can be found on the Planning Inspectorate's website.

  College Road Cheshunt

Appeals should be sent to:


The Planning Inspectorate

The Environmental Team

Trees and Hedges

Room 4/04, Kite Wing

Temple Quay House

2 The Square

Temple Quay

Bristol BS1 6PN

Tel: 0117 372 6372




It is an offence to cut down, uproot or destroy a protected tree or damage a tree in a way that is likely to destroy it. Anyone convicted of this offence can face a fine of up to £20,000. An unlimited fine can also be imposed equal to the rise in land value resulting from tree clearance. Undertaking work on protected trees without destroying it is also an offence carrying a fine of up to £2,500. Liability for prosecution can involve not just an individual or company which does the work but anyone who permits or engages a tree contractor.