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Tree Preservation Order

The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and associated Regulations enables us to protect trees in the interests of amenity, by making tree preservation orders (TPOs).

The making of an order, in general, makes it an offence to wilfully damage or destroy, or carry out works to the protected tree(s) without the Councils 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.

Without written consent from the Council, the following works are not permitted to TPO trees:

  • Felling, cutting down, uprooting, removing
  • Pruning, pollarding, lopping or removing branches
  • Compaction of soil affecting roots or cutting the roots

Failure to follow the procedure for protected trees can lead to a significant fine and potential prosecution. This protection applies to all parts of the tree, above and below ground.

How do I know if a tree is protected?

If you need to know whether a tree is protected, you need to request a TPO search. Please provide as many details about the location as possible; for example:-

  • full postal address
  • nearest postcode
  • grid references
  • Maps / plans showing location with point of reference/street name
  • What 3 Words

Please email your request to customerservices@rctcbc.gov.uk or call 01443 425 001

If you are a utility supplier and need a permission document signed; to carry out work to trees on council owned land, not covered by a TPO, please email the documents and your request to our customer services centre.

What is the difference between a TPO and a tree in a conservation area?

Individual trees, groups, areas or woodlands may be covered by a Tree preservation order but an entire town could be within a conservation area. Conservation areas are designated for their special architectural or historic interest. 

Trees in conservation areas are protected as part of preserving the amenity value of the area, so even if the tree(s) are not protected by a TPO, you may need to apply for consent for your proposed works.

A tree can also be protected by a TPO and be within a conservation area.

View more information on conservation areas.

How do I get permission?

To carry out work to a TPO tree or a Tree within a conservation Area you need to apply for consent.

You or a suitably qualified person you employ (the agent, tree surgeon / arboriculturist) can apply on your behalf.

Online: via the planning application Wales site  

By Post: Download/print the application   Once completed, please post to Planning Services (applications), Sardis House, Sardis Road, Pontypridd, CF37 1DU

By email: Download/print the application and email to planningservices@rctcbc.gov.uk

Please note: Only 1 copy of the application form and any evidence is required.

Welsh Government guidance is viewable here

How to request a preservation order be placed on a tree?

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).

To apply to place a preservation order on a tree, you need to provide:

  • a location plan
  • photographs
  • a written description of the reasons, as to why you believe a TPO should be placed upon the tree (s).

Once this information has been submitted to our customer services team and logged officially, it will be sent to the Tree Officer to review. Please note we do not generally TPO trees that are growing from Council land as we only carry out essential tree work and have to manage our tree stock effectively.

Do I still need permission if the TPO tree is dead, diseased or dangerous?

If the suitably qualified person deems works are immediately required to `make safe` the dangerous tree, works can be carried out, without permission, under the exempt rule.

However, we would advise caution and to protect yourself from potential prosecution, we would advise you take photographs of the tree before and afterwards and also ask the person completing the tree works to submit the photos to us; with a write up of what they deemed was necessary; to justify completing works under the exempt rule. This will then be kept on record within the relevant TPO file.

If the trees are still living, there is a requirement to submit a TPO Tree Works application to the planning services department in Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, to apply to carry out the tree work. 

Please see relevant documents below:

  1. Application for Tree works 
  2. Welsh Government TPO Guidance – Protected Trees leaflet 
  3. Bird Nesting season Guidance