Changes to the Tree Preservation Order Regime
March 20th, 2012 by Louise Humphreys
The Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation)(England) Regulations 2012 will, subject to Parliament, come into effect on 6 April 2012.
The new regulations will place all tree preservation orders (TPOs) onto the same footing and consolidate existing legislation into one new set of regulations.
A new model TPO order is being introduced and alongside this new model order provisions in every existing TPO, except for the information identifying the trees protected, are to be cancelled and replaced with the new slimmed-down format.
The duty imposed on authorities by section 197 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to make TPOs as they think necessary when granting planning permission remains unchanged. Similarly, the power in section 198 of that Act to make TPOs in the interests of amenity.
Other than the introduction of a new model order, the main changes under the new Regulations are as follows:
- All new Orders will provide immediate provisional effect and authorities can confirm them after considering any objections or representations. Previously authorities could decide whether or not to apply immediate protection pending the consideration of representations received.
- All new Orders will be served on those who have a right to prune or fell the trees covered by the Order. Local authorities will still be able to notify others, but this is discretionary. Previously Orders had to be notified to the owners / occupiers of the land where the tree was situated and the owners / occupiers of any adjoining land even where they had no rights over the trees protected.
- Under the current regulatory scheme, there are several circumstances where consent is not required to carry out work to protected trees, including where the tree is dead, dying, or dangerous. The new regulations omit "dying" from the exemptions.
- The new regulations now include a requirement for a tree owner to give written prior notice to the local authority of their intention to carry out works authorised by an exemption, unless there is an imminent danger.
- The new regulations set a two year default period for the duration of consents for work on protected trees, with a power for the local authority to vary this if appropriate.
- The new regulations remove the need for directions to be given to replant trees in the case of woodlands by enabling conditions to be used in all cases where replanting is required.
- An authority's power to issue an Article 5 certificate is completely removed; previously such certificates could be issued for TPOs made before 1999. The same compensation framework will therefore apply to all TPOs, irrespective of when made.