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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 their surroundings – public amenity benefit. Trees within a Conservation Area have a similar level of protection to that afforded by a TPO. If works to a protected tree are necessary, an application must be made to the Council 

If you wish to carry out work to a tree protected by a TPO you must make an application you can visit the Planning Portal External Hyperlink or use the standard tree works application form External Hyperlink. which you can email to or send to Fareham Borough Council, Civic Offices, Civic Way, Fareham, PO16 7AZ. 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.

The application requires a full and clear specification (detailed description) of the proposed tree works in line with best practice advice in the "British Standard 3998: tree work – recommendations" and the TPO application guidance notes.

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 obtain a copy of the "British Standard 3998:2010 tree work – recommendations" online at the British Standards Institute External Hyperlink. Once a valid application has been received and registered, adjoining landowners may be notified for significant works such as felling and we may place public notices locally, to 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 otherwise deemed controversial by the public, the decision may be referred to the Council's planning committee.

You can seek advice from your own arborist or contact one of our tree officers, who can provide pre-application advice and if necessary, undertake a site visit.

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 or a tree situated within a Conservation Area. Before starting work on any tree, we strongly recommend that you check its status with us by emailing the 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 obtain a felling licence from the Forestry Commission before felling trees, though this is unlikely to apply to a normal domestic garden.


Tree Preservation Orders FAQs

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

Protected trees in general


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 arborist to advise you and undertake any necessary tree work.

Can you recommend a good tree surgeon?

The Council's tree team can provide you with details of the tree work contractors we use under our tree maintenance framework and a list of approved contactors is also available on the Arboricultural Association's web site External Hyperlink.

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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