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Trees, woodlands and high hedges

Tree Preservation Orders

A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is made to protect trees that have a high amenity value and have a positive impact on their immediate surroundings, providing protection for trees which are under threat or would be threatened in the future.

The council makes a provisional TPO with immediate effect and it remains in force for six months, after which we must confirm the order. We send copies of the TPO documents to the owner of the tree and all other relevant interested parties. The landowner is still responsible for the protected tree and must request permission from the council to do any work that may affect the tree.

Unauthorised work can lead to prosecution in the magistrates' court and a fine of up to £20,000 (per tree), as well as having to replace any trees that have been lost. 

Trees in conservation areas

All trees in conservation areas are protected by the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 under section 211. Landowners are required to give us six weeks' notice for any work being carried out on trees in a conservation area. This is to allow the Trees and Woodlands Officer to visit the site to assess whether the work is appropriate and to consider whether a TPO should be placed on the tree.

Notice is not required when the work is being carried out to a dead tree or a tree that is considered dangerous, although it is advisable to still contact the council five days before the work is carried out to enable the Trees and Woodlands Officer to assess the work.

Notice is not needed for any work, including felling within a conservation area, on trees that measure less than 75mm in diameter at a point 1.5 metres above the ground, or 100mm in diameter if the removal of the tree would enable others to flourish.

Prosecution and fines may result if any tree work is carried out and notice is not given to us.

Finding out if a tree is protected by a TPO or is within a conservation area

If you wish to know whether trees are protected by a Tree Preservation Order or are affected by being within a conservation area, then contact the St Helens Borough Council Trees and Woodlands Officer, Antony (Thomas) Brandreth on 01744 676189 or email thomasbrandreth@sthelens.gov.uk.

Apply to do work to a protected tree

You can apply electronically via the Planning Portal.