Tree preservation order applications

As promised its part 2 of our tree preservation order application pitfalls series.

It is a little bit late but we have been running around like a mad thing. I’ve written the report that cleared up all the issues relating to the trees that inspired this series of blogs, organised and supervised their removal, ground the stumps out, sorted a number of tree reports to go alongside planning applications, carried out tree health surveys and reports across several sites with multiple trees, carried out a pre-purchase mortgage report, had several other days out with the grinder and sorted out a huge amount of advertising/marketing stuff.

Anyway this time its reduction applications.

Before we go to far down this rabbit hole I want/need to clear some things up.

1 Trees don’t need reducing to make them safe. 

Being an intelligent living organism they tend to grow and adapt to their conditions and given time can grow to counteract structural defects. Sometimes they do need a bit of work to help them, but nots as often as some people like to claim.

2 Reducing to create a “natural form”. 

If your chosen tree firm puts this on the form or uses this or a similar phrase in their recommendations then they really are living in a bubble. The tree is growing in its natural form to fit its surroundings, pruning/reduction work is only going to make a tree look more pleasing to the eye. Unless you employ the boys who strip everything back to the same length and call it done then your just going to be left with a mess.

3 The tree is stressed and needs reducing.

REALLY! If  you think reducing its ability to breath and process food is going to help a tree that’s struggling, then block your nostrils and halve your food intake for a week and see how you feel, because that’s all your doing to this struggling stressed tree.

4 Reducing trees can stop the roots encroaching. 

This one has got to be one of my favourite old wives tails, its up there with hammering in copper nails to kill trees. Think about this one logically, roots grow to seek out nutrients to feed the tree and help hold it up, as an area is depleted of nutrients they push out further to keep feeding the tree. Compacted ground slows them down and impenetrable surfaces not trimming the branch length, its almost an irrelevance to the root growth how long the branches are. It’s a bit like saying if you cut your hair and your finger nails it will stop your toe nails growing.

With that cleared up

If you feel the need to have some work carried out to make your protected tree fit in the garden or let some more light in then you’ll need to apply to the relevant local planning authority, or your appointed contractor will. They will want to know why your wanting to carry out the work and if you want to avoid a refusal please don’t use any of the points highlighted above, and if your contracting firm tries to use any of them, politely ask them to go away, if your really stuck drop us a message and we’ll send you some names over of guys who don’t use those phrases or believe the old wives tails, alternatively we can fill the paperwork out for you, the application is free but we do charge for our time filling them out and producing drawings and reports.

The council will also want to know how much smaller you want to make it. If your chosen contractor uses a percentage expect a refusal, or at least you should. If this contractor recommending a reduction by a percentage has WORKS TO BS3998 on the side of his truck or on any adverts, then their LYING and have never seen a copy of this document let alone read it. This set of guidelines actually tells you how the work should be carried out and what is acceptable and it specifies measurements not percentages.  And its actually BS3998:2010 to be really pedantic, there is a lot of other information in there as well but at nearly £400 for a copy I’m not going to share it with the world for free.

Oh and don’t forget they’ll want a drawing so they can see where the tree is in your garden. It doesn’t need to be a full blown scaled CAD drawing, in fact the planning portal won’t allow me to upload them in support of TPO apps, a simple google screenshot with a circle round the trees will usually suffice, or if your feeling artistic then get the pens and pencils out.

Anyway that should be enough to help you fill out any applications when you want to make your trees smaller. 

There is a heap of other things I could mention, that should be avoided, but then this post will start to sound like a rant against dodgy practices in the tree industry.

As always, if you want any further information then please don’t hesitate to contact us, I can’t always answer the phone but I will endeavour to ring people back, or you could fill out the contact form and drop me an email. And on the note I’m disappearing into the shed to sharpen some stump grinder teeth and do a bit more work on the new deep root aerator I’m building.