Tree relocation projects are both large-scale and resource-hungry, and as a result it is vital every avenue is thoroughly examined to determine the potential for success.

Chris Mills, general manager at Glendale Civic Trees says, one of the key things to check before embarking on a tree move is whether the tree can legally be transplanted.  

He said: “Many trees fall within designated conservation areas, and some are specifically protected with a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), so it’s important to check that you have permission to relocate the tree before you start.   

“A TPO is a written order made by the local planning authority which makes it an offence to carry out any work on a protected tree without the authority’s permission, except under very specific circumstances.  A TPO can cover a single specimen or all of the trees within a specified area like a woodland or copse.   

“TPOs were introduced in order to protect our treescape in urban and peri-urban areas, such as parks.  They generally apply to trees that have what is known as high ‘amenity’ value.  These are trees that the community see as a significant part of the local landscape and are usually found in places where they are visible or accessible to the public.

“A tree move isn’t impossible when there is a TPO in place, but permission must be sought from the local planning authority before the project can go ahead and it might impose restrictions on what can be achieved.  

“I would recommend finding out as soon as possible if your tree is protected with a TPO by contacting the tree officer at your local council.  An official search of the local land charges register can also reveal any orders that are in place, or if the trees on your property are located in a conservation area.”  

The local planning authority requires an Application for Tree Works to be submitted for any trees protected under a TPO, explains Chris: “this official document is available online through the government’s Planning Portal and requires you to specify what work is required and the reasons why the application is being made.  For example, the relocation of a tree that is under threat from a new development into temporary storage in order to preserve it.   

“I’d recommend consulting a tree specialist to clarify what work is needed and to get some support when filling out the form because the local planning authority require a lot of detailed evidence.  It’s also advisable to discuss the proposal on an informal basis with the local planning authority before completing the form as they may be able to give you some guidance.”  

Chris adds that trees that the local planning authority still require written notice of any proposed work to trees that fall within a conservation area six weeks prior to any work commencing, even if they are not protected by a TPO.  

Chris continues: “Once the application is submitted the local planning authority will arrange to undertake a site visit as part of the decision making process.  Consent, if it is given, is valid for two years and will be confirmed in writing.  They wil also confirmed in writing if full consent has been given or part consent with restrictions on what work can be completed.

“If your application has been successful and you are ready to start planning your tree relocation project I’d recommend our article by operations manager Marc Greenaway ‘Preparing to relocate a tree?’ for guidance.”

For a free consultation about your tree moving project contact a member of our team.

For more information about TPOs visit the government website here.