In the UK, there are numerous ways to protect trees, such as Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) and restrictive covenants. Such protections mean you may be liable to prosecution if you carry out tree surgery or tree removal without prior permission. With over 10 years of experience as tree surgeons, we explain the various protections and what they mean, so you can avoid any potential legal issues. We also advise on certain requirements for hedge cutting and installing fencing in Orpington and the surrounding areas.
Before carrying out any form of tree work, we find out if any legal restrictions apply. If necessary, we obtain permissions and never undertake services without required approvals. The following are the main types of protection you might come across when planning tree surgery in Orpington:
Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)
TPOs protect trees that offer a significant benefit to the local area and are issued by the Local Planning Authority. A TPO can protect single trees or entire woodlands of any species.
TPOs make it an offence for anyone, including tree surgeons, to carry out work without the permission of the local authority. This includes tree removal and intentional damage as well as more minor tree surgery. Even if trees are in the way of construction or fencing, you must get prior approval before removing them.
While TPOs can apply to trees in hedgerows, they cannot apply to hedges, bushes or shrubs themselves. This means you are free to carry out hedge cutting in Orpington without permission, as long as you don’t touch any protected trees or break other restrictions, such as the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
A countryside hedgerow is a boundary line of bushes that can include trees. When removing countryside hedgerows in Orpington and the surrounding areas, there are rules you must follow, or you could get a fine of £5000, or even an unlimited fine.
A hedgerow has protection if it meets certain criteria covering length, location and importance, which our tree surgeons can advise on. For example, if it is on or next to land used for agriculture, or if it contains protected species listed in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
In addition, because trees in hedgerows may have a TPO, you must not carry out tree removal without permission, even if you’re allowed to remove the hedge. However, you do not need permission to undertake minor work in Orpington, such as hedge cutting, as long as there are no birds nesting in the hedgerow.
A restrictive covenant is a promise between two people, such as a buyer and seller, not to do certain things with land or property. They apply to the land and not the owner, meaning restrictive covenants continue even after sale.
Such restrictions may require third party consent before carrying out some works, including tree surgery and tree removal. Restrictive covenants can also apply to fencing and hedges.