Tree preservation orders

Some protected trees in the borough are subject to tree preservation orders (TPOs).

A TPO is an order made by a local council to protect a tree, including its roots. The order prohibits:

  • felling
  • uprooting
  • topping or lopping
  • wilful damage or destruction

Any tree can be protected by a TPO. An order can cover a single tree or groups of trees and woodlands.

Find out if a tree is covered by a TPO

When a council serves a new TPO, it notifies the owner of the land and the affected neighbouring properties.  There will then be a 30 day period to object to the TPO.

Check for existing TPOs by going to find your nearest and enter your postcode or contact planning services on (020) 8825 6600 or

Apply to carry out works on a protected tree

Apply to the planning department through the Planning Portal.

If you do not apply and receive written consent, you will be prosecuted for breaching legislation.

Anyone carrying out permitted development to their property may also require permission before starting work if the development is likely to lead to the severing of roots or branches of a nearby protected tree.

What the council will do

Applications for works to trees covered by a TPO are managed by the planning department.  Once the application has been registered, the tree service will assess the proposal and provide recommendations to the planning department. The decision notice detailing the outcome of the application is issued within eight weeks.

Penalty for unauthorised works

If you deliberately destroy a protected tree or damage it in a manner likely to destroy it, you could be liable to an unlimited fine. You could also be fined if you permit someone else to damage the tree. Other offences including unauthorised pruning can lead to fines of up to £2,500.

Exemptions to the legislation