Tree Protection

What is a Tree Preservation Order?

Thanet District Council is responsible for the administration and management of trees in Conservation Areas and Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs). This involves the survey and inspection of trees for inclusion in new TPOs and the consideration of proposals by owners to fell or prune protected trees.

There are two types of statutory designation that may apply to trees in private ownership: the Tree Preservation Order (TPO), which applied to trees at individual addresses and locations, and the Conservation Area, wherein a level of blanket protection exists applying to all trees above 75mm diameter when measured at 1.5 metres up the stem.

A Tree Preservation Order is an order made by a local planning authority in England to protect specific trees, groups of trees or woodlands in the interests of amenity. An Order prohibits the:

  • cutting down
  • topping
  • lopping
  • uprooting
  • wilful damage
  • wilful destruction

of trees without the local planning authority’s written consent. If consent is given, it can be subject to conditions which have to be followed. In the Secretary of State’s view, cutting roots is also a prohibited activity and requires the authority’s consent.

Tree Preservation Orders are used to protect selected trees and woodlands

  • where they contribute significantly to the quality of an area
  • their removal would have a negative impact on the environment and its enjoyment by the public.

Trees may be worthy of preservation for their intrinsic beauty or their contribution to the landscape, because they serve as a screen or for their scarcity. Other factors such as their value as a wildlife habitat may also be considered. TPOs can be placed on any tree that has amenity value, including hedgerow trees but not hedges, bushes or shrubs.

If a dead or dangerous tree is protected and it’s condition has been confirmed by a competent person to make that decision, then you do not need to make a full application for making it safe. However in this instance the council would require photographic evidence to prove that the trees are exempt from an application. TPOs prohibit the cutting down, uprooting, topping, lopping, wilful damage or wilful destruction of trees without the Local Authorities consent. The maximum penalty for carrying out works to TPO trees without consent is up to £20,000 a tree.

For a comprehensive guide to the law and best practice on Tree Preservation Orders please see the

both published by Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)

Trees in Conservation Areas

All trees which have a stem diameter of 75mm or above at 1.5m above ground level are automatically protected in a Conservation Area, and cannot be pruned or removed without first giving us 6 weeks written notice.

  • Trees that form a hedge and multi-stemmed trees are protected if they conform to the dimensions above.
  • Shrubs are not protected in a Conservation Area.

Highway Trees

Kent County Council look after highway trees to make sure that they are kept in a good condition and do not make the highway unsafe.


If agricultural type hedgerows meet certain criteria, they are considered to be important.

If a hedgerow is considered to be important, then you may need to submit a Hedgerow Removal Notice.

You can find more information about managing hedgerows and the rules and regulations if you want to work on them on the GOV.UK website

Planning Conditions

Sometimes where development has taken place, trees are protected by planning conditions.

To find out if trees are protected by planning conditions, please look at the planning history of an address.

If your tree is covered by a planning condition, you may need to get permission from us if you want to carry out work to it. The planning condition will make this clear.

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