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You are here: Home / Planning / Trees

Protected trees

protected treesLocal Authorities have powers to make tree preservation orders (TPOs) to control work undertaken to trees that make an important contribution to the local area. Trees within conservation areas have a level of protection similar to trees which are covered by a TPO. If works to protected trees are needed, an application must be made to us on a standard tree works application form External Hyperlink. In line with best practice advice in the "British Standard 3998: tree work – recommendations" and TPO applications guidance notes, a full and clear specification (detailed description) of tree works will be required. We cannot validate applications that present crown reduction works specified in percentage terms. To avoid ambiguity, the specified end result should be stated either as the tree-height and branch-spread which are to remain or the average equivalent in branch length reduction (in metres) and maximum diameter of live pruning wounds. You should specify end results or individual branches if the growth pattern of the tree creates a need for this or where clearance from a specified object is required (see Para 7.7.2 of BS 3998:2010).

You can see a copy of the "British Standard 3998:2010 tree work – recommendations" online at the British Standards Institute. Once a valid application has been received and registered, adjoining land owners will be consulted. We may place public notices locally and will take any views or representations into account. Some works may be decided by officers. If the application involves the felling of a protected tree or is controversial, it will be referred to the planning committee.

Carrying out work on a protected tree

It is a criminal offence to lop, top, cut down, uproot, wilfully damage or destroy a tree covered by a TPO unless we have permitted the work. Before starting work on any tree, we strongly recommend that you check its status with us by emailing details, including the location and a description of the work you wish to carry out. We offer pre-application advice to tree owners. For further information please contact the tree team on 01329 236100 ext. 4442 or e-mail In some circumstances you may need to get a felling licence from the Forestry Commission before felling trees, though this is unlikely to apply to a normal domestic garden.


On this page, we aim to answer common questions about TPOs and conservation areas. If you plan to fell trees that are not in a residential garden, look at the Forestry Commission website for information on felling licences.


Tree Preservation Orders FAQs

What is a Tree Preservation Order?

A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is an order made by a local planning authority, such as Fareham Borough Council, which makes it an offence to cut down, lop, top, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree without first getting permission from us. They are usually made to protect trees that make a significant contribution to a public amenity or area. They may particularly be made when it is felt that a tree may be under threat.

What types of tree can be covered by a TPO?

All types of trees, native and ornamental, including hedgerow trees, may be the subject of a TPO. A TPO cannot protect hedges, bushes, or shrubs.

How can you find out if a tree has a TPO?

Contact our tree team with details of the address, location, and species of the tree or use the Map of Protected Trees. When you are buying a property the presence of a TPO should be revealed by the search of the local land charges register.

Who is responsible for maintaining a tree with a TPO?

The owner of a protected tree is responsible for its maintenance, condition and any damage it causes. However, if you are the owner, you will still need to get permission from us before carrying out most types of work. Tree work is a dangerous and highly skilled operation and trees are complex living structures which are easily damaged by poor quality or unsympathetic tree work. We strongly advise you to talk to a professional tree surgeon or arborist to advise you and undertake any work needed.

Can you recommend a good tree surgeon?

Hampshire has a tree maintenance framework with a list of tree surgeons that we use so please contact our tree team for advice on choosing an arborist.

How do you get permission to work on a tree covered by a TPO?

If you wish to carry out work to a tree protected by a TPO you must make an application on the standard application form. You can do this in writing to Fareham Borough Council, Civic Offices, Civic Way, Fareham, PO16 7AZ. For an electronic version of the standard tree works application form and guidance notes, you can visit the Planning Portal External Hyperlink. Applications not made on the standard application form cannot be accepted and will be returned to you. You must include a plan showing exactly which trees you wish to prune, although this need not be to scale. You must also indicate exactly what sort of work you wish to carry out and the reasons why. Certain types of work will also need appropriate supporting documentation. For example, if you give the reason for work as being safety or damage to property you will need to provide evidence of this. You can find information about supporting documentation in the guidance notes for the standard application form. We will write to confirm receipt and registration of your application. We will consider it and let you know our decision within eight weeks.

If you are refused permission can you appeal?

Yes. If your application is refused or if you do not receive a decision within eight weeks, you can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate who will consider your appeal on behalf of the Secretary of State. We will send you details of how to appeal along with the decision notice. You may also appeal if we grant permission subject to certain conditions. During the appeal process the information you submitted along with your application and our comments will be carefully considered by an independent inspector.

Can you get compensation if your application is refused or conditions are attached?

There are limited circumstances where you can make a claim for compensation if you are refused permission to carry out work to a protected tree or conditions are attached.

If you wish to make a claim for compensation you should write to us within 12 months of our decision or within 12 months of the Secretary of State's decision if you appealed.

Will you be told if a TPO is made on a tree on my property?

Yes. When we make a TPO, we will send copies to the owner of the property and any adjoining properties which are affected.

How can you object to, or express support for, a new TPO?

To object to a new TPO or to express your support for it, write to us within the time allowed, usually 28 days after the order has been made. We will consider your comments when deciding whether or not to confirm the TPO.

Protected trees in general

When can you prune a protected tree without permission?

There are certain circumstances when you can carry out work to a protected tree without first seeking our permission. These include:

Might you have to plant a replacement tree?

If you cut down or destroy a protected tree you will have to plant a new one if:

What happens if you carry out work on a protected tree without permission?

If you deliberately destroy a protected tree or damage it in a manner likely to destroy it, you could be fined up to £20,000 if convicted in a magistrate's court. For other offences you can be fined up to £2,500. Furthermore, you will normally have to plant a new tree if the tree was cut down or destroyed.

How else might a tree be protected?

In addition to TPO and conservation areas there are various other factors which may constrain work to trees. These include:

This web page is a reasonable summary of the legislation affecting protected trees. The information given is brief, limited and offered for guidance purposes only. For more information, contact our tree team on 01329 236100 ext. 4442 or e-mail

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Fareham Borough Council, Civic Offices, Civic Way, Hampshire, PO16 7AZ
Tel: +44 (0) 1329 236100 | Mobile Text/Photo: 07876 131415
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