Tree preservation orders


A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is an official order, issued by a Local Authority, which serves to protect a particular tree or group of trees against unauthorised pruning, felling or damage. Any tree protected by a TPO cannot be pruned or felled without permission from the Local Authority.

Wilful damage to protected trees may result in prosecution.

Protected trees in the Borough of Darlington

There have been 370 TPOs issued in total, the earliest order dating from 1945. Some 4,800 individual trees and 300 groups of trees are included altogether. Most of these trees are on land in private ownership and a large number are situated within gardens of domestic properties.

To find out whether a particular tree is protected, please:

  • write to the Planning Department, Town Hall, Darlington, DL1 5QT
  • send a fax to 01325 388616
  • email [email protected]

We do not provide this information over the telephone.

Issuing an order

Planning authorities have the power to issue a Tree Preservation Order for the purpose of protecting any trees that are deemed to be at risk of damage or destruction. A single TPO can be issued to cover either:

  • a single tree;
  • several specified trees;
  • a defined area to include all trees within (or several defined areas);
  • a woodland area (or several woodland areas);
  • any combination of the above.

TPOs can not be applied to hedges, bushes or shrubs.

Trees in a conservation area

All trees located within a conservation area are protected against pruning or felling without prior notification to the Local Planning Authority. The Council has to be given six weeks notice before works can be carried out to any other tree (a tree not covered by a TPO) but which is within a Conservation Area. This is to give the Council an opportunity to decide if a tree is worthy of further protection (if a TPO should be issued).

If a tree is protected by both means, then the TPO takes priority.

Works to protected trees

Permission is needed to carry out works to any tree that is covered by a Tree Preservation Order. Similarly, an official notification is required before carried out works to any tree in a Conservation Area. To carry out work on any protected trees, you will need to fill in a tree works form.