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Tree Preservation Orders - What you need to know...

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Tree Preservation Orders – what you need to know.

Got a tree affected by a Tree Preservation Order in your garden? If so, read on, you need to be aware of the dangers of ignoring a TPO!

In this BLOG post, Amanda Payne, Director and Head of Residential property at Fishers Solicitors discusses a recent case concerning TPOs

A man has been fined almost £40,000 for illegally lopping back a mature oak tree that is in his rear garden. He added a Juliet style balcony to the master bedroom at his home where he lived in Dorset.   However, the balcony was shaded by a 42ft oak tree in his south-west facing garden, which was the subject of a Tree Preservation Order or TPO.

The owner arranged for approximately twelve feet in length to be cut from the tree without the necessary Local Authority consent.  This had the impact of letting through a lot more sunlight into his home and allowed him to enjoy his new balcony! However, his enjoyment wasn’t to last for long as a neighbour reported him to the local Council. They brought proceedings against the home owner for causing wilful damage to a protected tree. He pleaded guilty and was fined £1,200.

After that, the Council then prosecuted him under the Proceeds of Crime Act to seize an amount of money by which he had benefited from the crime, namely the increase in value of his home due to his now sunny balcony!

Two valuations on his home were carried out and the estimated increase in value was between £21,750 and £30,000.   The judge ordered the owner to pay £21,750 as well as a further £15,000 in legal costs. 

This appears to be the first case were there has been a Proceeds of Crime case based on the benefit of improved light into a property from the destruction of a tree subject to a TPO.   Normally, the maximum fine would have been £2,500 but the Proceeds of Crime Act looked at the criminal activity gaining up to £30,000 in the value of the property.  

You have been warned!

Are you concerned about buying or selling a property that may have a tree with a TPO on the land? Are you unsure if there is an existing TPO? Give us a call today on 01530 412167 or email us and speak to one of our team.

Amanda Payne is a Director and Head of Residential Property at Fishers Solicitors. Amanda has extensive experience across a broad spectrum of property, land and complex title transactions.