Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Preservation Orders on Trees Can Cost You Thousands

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Preservation Orders on Trees Can Cost You Thousands

Article excerpt

Byline: By Richard Freeman-Wallace

Trees can slow down or even stop development, costing landowners and developers many thousands of pounds.

A recent High Court case underlined the need to carefully maintain trees close to public highways, to ensure passers-by are not injured by falling branches or trees.

At the same time the government has recognised that the current Tree Preservation Order system is now "complex and unwieldy".

The responsibility to maintain trees was highlighted in a case when a member of the public driving along the road collided with a tree that had fallen from the defendant's land onto the road.

The injured party made a claim for damages and won because the High Court agreed that the landowner was responsible for the maintenance of the tree.

Even though the owner employed a forestry inspector to monitor the condition of the trees, the inspector had failed to notice the fungal infection that weakened it, and led to the accident. All landowners whose trees are close to highways should take note of the high degree of care they need to take, and the wisdom of being covered by comprehensive insurance.

More than 90% of developers and landowners have been affected by trees through Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) according to independent research. Recommendations of a government Steering Report could, however, lighten the burden imposed by TPOs.

Tree Preservation Orders prevent the cutting down, lopping, uprooting, topping, trimming or damaging in any way of trees under such an order without the permission of the planning authority. There are fines of up to pounds 20,000 per tree for breaking the order.

TPO legislation has suffered from piecemeal amendments over the years, and a more "fundamental review of the regulations" is required, according to the government's newly published Householder Development Consents Review ( Steering Group Report. …

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