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Read our tips on staying safe as you enjoy the South Downs National Park.

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)

It is an offence to carry out work to a TPO tree without permission.

All types of tree can be covered by a TPO – including hedgerow trees – but not hedges, bushes or shrubs.

A TPO can cover anything from a single tree, to a group of trees and can cover an area of woodland.

If a tree has a TPO, the owner remains responsible for its condition but will need permission before carrying out any cutting back or cutting down the tree unless:

  • it is dead or dangerous (see paragraph below),
  • it is to allow compliance with a statutory obligation,
  • it is directly in the way of development that is about to start for which detailed planning permission has been granted that includes works to the tree,
  • it is in a commercial orchard, or pruning fruit trees in accordance with good horticultural practice,
  • you have a felling licence from the Forestry Commission or the work is in accordance with one of the Commission’s grant schemes.

However, in all of these cases we recommend that you check first. For dead, dying and dangerous requests you must give a minimum of five working days notice before carrying out any works unless imminently dangerous. 

Please provide a description of the proposed works, a sketch plan showing the location of the tree, species (if known) and photographs. 

This is in your interest as you may be prosecuted if the work is unauthorised. All dead, dying and dangerous requests should be sent to planning@southdowns.gov.uk 

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