The making of an order, in general, makes it an offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree without our permission. The purpose of an order is to protect selected trees and woodlands if their removal would have a significant impact on the environment and its enjoyment by the public. We have a duty to make tree preservation orders, where appropriate, when granting planning permission.
Government circular guidance advises that we need to be able to show that a reasonable degree of public benefit would accrue before orders are made or confirmed. The trees should therefore normally be visible from a public place such as a road or public footpath, although exceptionally, the inclusion of other trees may be justified. The benefit may be present or future (for example, when proposed development has taken place).
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