Tree Preservation Orders
Important trees in the Ashford borough can be protected by making Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs). This means in most cases that any pruning or other work done to the tree must be agreed by the council's responsible officer before any work is carried out. Trees in Conservation Areas are also protected but in a slightly different way. Further information and is available in this government guide. View other government guidance on tree preservation orders.
A TPO is an order, made by the council, giving legal protection to either single trees, groups of trees or woodland areas.
By law, trees with a TPO cannot be cut down, uprooted, lopped (cut/trimmed) or topped, and no part of the tree, including its roots can be wilfully damaged or destroyed without first gaining permission from the Development Control team.
Anyone who wants the council to make a TPO should email email@example.com setting out why it is important to protect a particular tree. We will consider requests against three main criteria:
- The tree's particular importance in terms of size, form, rarity, screening value or contribution to the character or appearance of a conservation area
- The significance of the tree(s) in their local surrounding and wider impact on the environment
- Whether the tree is at risk or could be at risk in the future
You can find out if a tree is protected by using our interactive maps (please note that some of our maps won't work in Google Chrome). These will also show you the conservation areas in the borough.
Alternatively, you can access records of Tree Preservation Orders made since 1999 online.
Anything that would normally be called a tree, including fruit trees, may be covered by a TPO. There is no minimum size but bushes and shrubs cannot be covered.
Trees are protected because they contribute to the public's enjoyment of the local environment and it is appropriate and necessary to protect them.
This may be because:
- The tree is particularly beautiful
- Is of a rare species
- There are very few trees in the area
- It serves to screen something
Please complete the online protected tree application form using the Planning Portal application system if you want to ask for permission to carry out any works on a protected tree.
We will then:
- Acknowledge your application
- Visit the site to inspect the tree, and
- Write to you to tell you our decision within eight weeks
If the tree is within a conservation area you will hear from us within six weeks. You can appeal against our decision. We will enclose information about how to do this when we send you our decision.
You can see how we are getting on with your application and other applications on our tree application search page.
If a protected tree is dead or causing a danger then you do not have to make a normal application, but you must give the council five days notice of your intention to carry out the work.
If the tree is causing an immediate danger, for example, it is about to fall and could cause damage or injury, then you can carry out work without giving notice. However, we strongly advise you to collect evidence as the council will require you to provide proof at a later date that the tree was either dead, dying or causing a danger.
The proof should include either photographs, a tree surgeons report and/or independent witness statements.
It is an offence to work on a protected tree without permission. If a protected tree is damaged or destroyed without permission, the owner or person carrying out the work may be prosecuted and fined up to £20,000 and a replacement tree will also have to be planted.
If, without putting yourself at risk, you are able to obtain information such as photographs or details of the contractor, this will help the council in any enforcement action.