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Trees - Tree Preservation Orders

What is a Tree Preservation Order?

A Tree Preservation Order is an order made to protect certain important trees, tree groups or woodlands because of their intrinsic beauty, the special contribution they make to the landscape or street scene, or because of their benefit to the appearance or screening of a new development.

Trees covered by preservation orders have special protection by law.

It is an offence to cut down, uproot, prune (roots as well as branches), damage or destroy any protected tree without the permission of Northampton Borough Council.

If you do, you could be prosecuted and fined. If a tree has been removed or destroyed, you may also be required to plant replacements.

To check whether a tree is protected, contact our Arboricultural Officer.

What is a Tree Preservation Order? (PDF 14.28KB)

Apply for Tree Preservation Order Consent

If you are considering undertaking tree work to a protected tree it is recommended you first arrange to have the tree inspected by a qualified tree surgeon or arborist who will be able to advise you as to if and what works are appropriate and necessary./p>

If works are required please complete and return the following application form (by post, email or through the planning portal).

There are firm rules on the level of information and evidence required on the application form so please read the guidance notes before submission.

Alternatively your tree surgeon can submit the form on your behalf.

Tree work contractors

Tree work is a skilled profession and can be hazardous. Proper tree work contractors have the right equipment, insurance, skills and knowledge of tree law for their own and your protection. You should always employ a professionally-accredited tree contractor for work on protected trees.

What work does not need permission?

There are several exceptions where consent to work or remove a protected tree is not required (please check with us). The most common include:

  • Where a tree poses an immediate risk to health and safety (please seek immediate professional advice from a tree surgeon or arborist and inform our Arboricultural Officer as soon as possible).
  • The tree is dead (you must give the us 5 days' written notice before removal).
  • Where planning permission has been granted that identifies the removal of protected trees to facilitate development.
  • Where the tree is causing an 'actionable nuisance' i.e. where there is an immediate risk of a tree causing actual foreseeable damage (please seek immediate professional advice from a tree surgeon or arborist and check with our Arboricultural Officer as soon as possible).
  • Tree work to be carried out by utility operators such as electricity, gas, telecommunications etc.

It is, however, always prudent to get confirmation from our Arboricultural Officer that permission is not needed before embarking on any work.

Contact details

The Arboricultural Officer, Planning Policy & Heritage, The Guildhall, St Giles Square, Northampton NN1 1DE
Tel: 0300 330 7000