Tree Preservation Orders

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) are to safeguard trees or groups of trees, which make a significant contribution to the amenity of an area. These trees are then protected from cutting down, topping, lopping wilful damage or wilful destruction.

The Communities and Local Government Office have produced a useful guide to Tree Preservation Procedures which can be viewed here.


  • A TPO is served in relation to a property and constitutes a land charge on that property, binding on all subsequent owners and occupiers
  • We may either grant or withhold consent for the works or give a conditional consent. Permission to fell a preserved tree usually carries a condition to plant a replacement which will automatically become the subject of the TPO
  • When a new TPO is made, people can object or make representations against the order, usually within 28 days
  • If you cut down, top, lop or wilfully damage a preserved tree, or allow this to happen, you may have to pay an unlimited fine on conviction
  • You can view all TPOs at the Contact Centre on the ground floor of the Council Offices. We recommend that you give a few days advance notice for this information

Finding out Whether a Tree has a Tree Preservation Order

See our related downloads for an Index of Tree Preservation Orders in the Southend Borough. We try to keep this as up to date as possible, but please make sure to confirm that your tree is not protected before carrying out any works.

Please note that trees in Conservation Areas are also protected.

Who is Responsible for Maintaining a Tree with a Tree Preservation Order?

The owner of the tree is responsible for:

  • the maintenance of the tree
  • the tree’s condition
  • any damage that the tree may cause

You must get permission from us before carrying out any work, unless you are removing dead wood or carrying out work exempted under section 198(6) of the Town and Country Planning Act.

If you own a tree, we suggest that you always seek a qualified professional tree surgeon or arborist to recommend and undertake any work needed.

Working on a Tree without Permission

There are a few exceptions when you can carry out work to a protected tree without getting permission first. Please see below for some of the exceptions.

  • If the tree is dead or dangerous. But only if the work is urgent and is to prevent serious harm. You will have to prove that this work was necessary. Please report to us if you are to carry out work at least 5 days in advance. This exception includes removing dead wood from an otherwise healthy tree
  • If you are obliged to carry out work by an Act of Parliament. This includes trees that overhang on a public road where you have an obligation to maintain reasonable clearance above the road. This usually means 2.5m above a pavement or 5.5m above a road
  • Where the work is necessary in order to carry out a detailed planning permission
  • If the tree is a fruit tree and you prune it in accordance with good horticultural practice, or if the tree is a fruit tree located in a commercial orchard
  • If the work is to be carried out in accordance with a Forestry Commission grant scheme, or if a felling license has been granted by the Forestry Commission

Requesting a New Tree Preservation Order

If you think an important privately owned tree is under threat you can request that we protect it with a new Tree Preservation Order. To qualify for a TPO the tree must have significant public amenity value. Please write to the Department for Place giving details of the trees and your reasons.

Unauthorised Works to Tree Preservation Orders

If you see work being carried out on a preserved tree or a tree in a conservation area please contact the Department for Place on 01702 215004 so that a check can be made as to whether permission has been granted.

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