On 6 April 2011, a new regime for protecting mature and valuable trees came into force in England.
The Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation) (England) Regulations 2012 were intended simply to consolidate the previous regulations. In addition to clarifying the regime, however, the government has made some critical changes to the scope of works that can be carried out without consent and to when the works have to be completed. In particular:
You can no longer carry out works to a dying tree without the local authority's consent; You can remove dead branches from living trees without written consent from the local authority; You must notify the local authority at least 5 working days before carrying out any works to dead or dangerous trees, unless the works are needed to remove "an immediate risk of serious harm" - in these circumstances, if the works are urgent, you must notify the council as soon as possible after they have been completed; and Local authority consents now come with an expiry date; so if you are granted permission for works to a protected tree, they need to be done promptly because he consent will now automatically expire after two years, unless the local authority agrees to extend its life-span. The changes to the TPO regime could catch out landowners who are not aware of them.
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