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Tree Preservation

For works to trees that are subject to statutory protection through a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or those in a Conservation Area the permission of the local planning authority will be needed.

When we assess whether trees should be protected, their value is based on their amenity, condition and the potential threat they may face. They can be assessed for their value now and in the future. Trees may be worthy of preservation for their intrinsic beauty or for their contribution to the landscape, or because they screen an eyesore or future development site. The value of trees may be enhanced by their scarcity or may be collective only, as in the case of a group of trees or woodland. Other factors, such as importance as a wildlife habitat may be taken into account, as in the case of Veteran trees.

In some circumstances you may need a felling license to fell more than 5 cubic metres of growing trees. This should be secured from the Forestry Authority first.

The other key mechanism for tree protection is through planning controls over existing trees on development sites.
Planning applications for development, range from minor house extensions, to major housing, industrial, shopping or leisure developments. In many cases these applications pose a threat to existing trees, either through removal, or damage during or as a result of construction. We control the potential threat to trees through the planning application process.
Tree Preservation Orders (TPO)

A Tree Preservation Order is made by the Local Planning Authority (LPA) which makes it an offence to cut down, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree without our permission (except in the case of specified exemptions).

Although it is possible to make TPO on any tree, in practice they are most commonly used in urban and semi-urban settings, for example gardens and parkland. A TPO is made to protect trees for the public's enjoyment. It is made for the 'amenity' of the tree or woodland, and this can include its nature conservation value but usually it is to preserve its visual amenity.
You can find out if a tree is protected or in a Conservation Area by visiting SIMON. Alternatively you can contact our Tree Officer, who can tell you which tree(s) are protected. It is important that you give the full postal address including the postcode of the trees location when making an enquiry, which will be answered at the earliest opportunity.

Trees in public parks and gardens and on the Highway are dealt with by our trees and woodland team 

If you wish to carry out works to trees protected under a TPO you must first apply by completing and submitting the appropriate application form, fill in and return to us by post to Planning Services, Magdalen House, 30 Trinity Road, Bootle, L20 3NJ.

This will require you to detail the work you want to do, the reasons why, and enclose a suitable sketch plan showing the location of the trees(s). See our validation checklist list for further guidance.

For works to trees in Conservation Areas, you must apply using the appropriate application form

Apply to carry out works to trees protected under a TPO (pdf 65KB)
TPO validation checklist (pdf 20KB)

If you think a tree or trees should be protected you can write to the us at the planning department. Your letter should include details of the location of the tree(s) and you should outline why you think the tree(s) should be protected. Please include a sketch plan showing the location of the tree(s) and any photographs if possible.

Our Tree Officer will assess your request for a Tree Preservation Order based on the amenity value, and the health and condition of the tree or trees. Please note although a request for a Tree Preservation Order may be made, this does not automatically mean that one will be granted.

We will write to the land owner of the tree(s) and to other interested parties (i.e. property owners whose boundary borders where the Tree Preservation Order is to be made) to serve notice of the making of the Order.

Letters of objection or support for an order can be made by writing to the Planning Department within 28 days of the order being issued. This should include your reasons for objection or support. We will take all comments into account when deciding whether to confirm the Order. All interested parties will be notified of the our decision.

There are currently 25 Conservation Areas in Sefton.  Conservation Areas are areas of special architectural or historic interest. Trees in Conservation Areas are protected.  To work on trees within a Conservation Area you need to give us six weeks notice by submitting your proposals using the appropriate application form. 

There is currently no maximum height restriction concerning tall hedges, although it is recognised as a nuisance.  However legislation, as part of the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill, exists to aid neighbours with longstanding hedge disputes. If you require advice or assistance with a longstanding dispute we may be able to assist.

Contact our Trees and Woodland Group in Leisure Services who are responsible for the management and maintenance of highway trees. 

If the tree is on the highway or in a Public Park, you can report it to our Trees and Woodland Group in Leisure Services.

In the majority of cases, inspection of the drains has found that this problem is caused by cracks in old clay pipes which allow roots to ingress into the pipe.  This problem is normally associated with defects in older properties and can be resolved by replacing the old clay pipes with modern drainage materials and techniques.

Cleaning of blocked pipes will only provide a temporary solution.

Trees are not automatically afforded protection because of their age or species.

Unless the tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order or is within a Conservation Area, we will not be involved. Therefore it is regarded as a civil matter between neighbours.

If you are concerned that a tree might be diseased or unsafe you should seek independent advice from a qualified tree contractor or consultant.

We cannot recommend any specific contractors, however we would advise that you check that a contractor is qualified and is suitably insured for Public Liability.

Listed Building status alone does not afford any specific protection to trees within the grounds of the property.

Last Updated on Thursday, June 22, 2023

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