Tree preservation orders

What are Tree Preservation Orders?

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) are used to protect selected trees and woodlands if their removal would have a significant impact on the environment and its enjoyment by the public. Priority for Tree Preservation Orders is generally given to trees which are considered to be under threat: for example, where development is proposed. This means that many mature trees in Wandsworth are not protected from removal.

How do we decide if a tree should be preserved?

In making TPOs, we must show that a reasonable degree of public benefit would achieved. The trees should normally be visible from a public place like a road or footpath, although exceptionally, the inclusion of other trees may be justified. The benefit may be present or expected in the future, for example when proposed development has been completed. Trees may can be preserved because they:

  • are beautiful
  • contribute to the landscape
  • serve to screen an eyesore or future development
  • are scarce, or
  • have value as part of an important group of trees or woodland.

Other factors such as importance of a site as a wildlife habitat, may be taken into consideration, but they are a sufficient reason to justify a TPO.

Our priorities for making Tree Preservation Orders decisions are:

  • Individual trees that are at risk and have visual impact on the street scene
  • Development sites subject to current planning applications and briefs
  • Greenways (major road frontages)
  • Re-surveys of sites following re-development.

Since 1949, some 250 Orders covering over 6,900 trees have been made. Orders vary in size from a single tree to whole streets covering several hundred trees. The latter form part of the Greenway initiative, to protect trees in front gardens of major routes through the borough and routes linking major open spaces.