Tree Preservation Orders

    Many trees and woodlands in Stafford Borough are protected by Tree Preservation Orders. These are trees of high amenity value or which have significant impact on the environment and have been identified by the council and protected by an order.

    We publish advice on a range of matters. If you cannot find the information you want below, please try these pages: 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is a Tree Preservation Order?

    A Tree Preservation Order or TPO is an Order made by the Borough Council that gives legal protection to trees or woodlands where removals would have a significant impact on the local environment its enjoyment by the public. A TPO makes the felling, lopping, wilful damage or destruction to trees (including root damage), without the written permission of this authority, a criminal offence.

    How is a new order made?

    We have the power under Section 198 of the Town and Country planning Act, 1990 implementing an order with immediate effect if there is a risk to a tree, this will continue for six months or until the order is confirmed, whichever is the earliest. Under normal circumstances we aim to issue a new TPO within 10 days.

    Who will you notify of a new TPO?

    We will send a copy of the order to the owner(s)/occupiers, adjoining neighbouring properties and any other known interested parties.

    How do I know if a tree is protected?Please contact the our Contact Centre on (01785) 619000 or by e-mail to, quoting the address of the property affected.

    What if I want to carry out work to a protected tree?

    You will need to make a formal application to us for permission to carry out any works to trees covered by a TPO, the only exception being when you wish to remove deadwood only - no application is necessary for this.

    Forms can be obtained by telephoning (01785) 619337 and the forms will be sent to you or by e-mail to and we will send them out to you. The forms can also be downloaded (pdf 311kb) and sent back to us via post or attached to an email.

    What can Stafford Borough Council do if damage is caused to a protected tree without permission?

    It is an offence to carry out works to a protected tree without first seeking the permission of this authority. If a protected tree is destroyed without permission, the owner and/or the person carrying out the works may be prosecuted and fined, up to £20,000, and a replacement tree, the species of which must be agreed, will have to be planted. Damaging a tree covered by a TPO is also a punishable criminal offence. Imprisonment is involved only exceptionally.

    Where can I find a tree contractor/consultant?

    You can look at the Arboricultural Associations lists. Alternatively, look in the Yellow Pages under the heading 'tree work' and you will find them listed in alphabetical order.

    Telephone the one you like the look of and ask him/her to come and give you a quote. It is always advisable to obtain 2 or 3 quotes as they may vary considerably. Tree contractors do not normally charge for the initial visit, consultants usually would make a charge.

    How do I decide which contractor/consultant to choose?

    We do not produce a list of approved contractors. The leaflet is produced by the Arboricultural Association.

    You may wish to obtain written quotations and ask to see their insurance cover, qualifications, membership of trade associations (eg Arboricultural Association, International Society of Arboriculture) and references from previous jobs.

    Working on trees can be hazardous, contractors should always use suitable equipment and protection and have enough staff on site to ensure that the job is done safely.

    We strongly advise that you under no circumstances employ door knockers, and ignore leaflets and flyers advertising tree work. Itinerant tree work contractors are unlikely to have had any formal training and may have little knowledge of tree physiology or the law pertaining to trees. Their prices are often excessive and they may demand cash payments. They commonly have no business address and operate from a mobile phone.

    Please do not believe people who say they act for the Council or have Council approval to do work to your trees - they don't!

    If anyone says they are from the Council they will show you their identity card which includes their name and photograph. If you have any doubts do not let them into your house and call 01785 619000 to check their identity.

    Further information is contained in the leaflet 'Protected Trees: A Guide to Tree Preservation Order Procedures' (pdf 1.02mb). This gives a brief introduction to tree protection procedures and answers some of the most common questions asked by tree owners and the public.

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