So recently one of my members wrote to me asking how to get a #TPO for "a magnificent + 300 year old Oak Tree" in Tilehurst, Reading. So I thought I would share with you some ideas.
"A TPO is to protect trees for the public's enjoyment. It is made for the 'amenity' of the tree or woodland, and this can include its nature conservation value but more often means its visual amenity" http://naturenet.net/trees/tpo.htm
With regard to getting a #TPO for a tree you will have to write to your local council planning department. They can put on a temporary TPO for 30 days. Then after that time a hearing can make the order permanent. Here is a link to the government website with more in depth advice. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tree-preservation-orders-and-trees-in-conservation-areas
You can also put a TPO on a group of trees or a woodland. However the council does have a get out cause with regards to a TPO if the area is to be 'developed' in which case the developer gets precedent. All is not lost however as you can do the following for #PositiviTree in Action :-) :
Get supporters to write to the council to win support for the tree (make sure they are polite).
This might sound obvious but don't assume a tree or trees will have a TPO in place. TPOs are not automatically given so always check. If there isn't one then apply to have one put in place as soon as you can.
Tell the local newspapers, radio, & TV to raise awareness and get support. Get some good photos to show it to its best possible advantage. Make sure to include any 'human interest' and any stories or history around the tree or woods.
Use social media. Facebook. Instagram and Twitter are the biggest.
You could put a post in my Britain's Ancient and Sacred Trees Facebook group asking folks to give a like/comment. You could then share this post or print it off to show the strength of support for your tree. https://www.facebook.com/groups/Ancientandsacredtrees/
I can share it via the Facebook page as well. You can message me there or share a Facebook post direct to the page. https://en-gb.facebook.com/BritainsAncientAndSacredTrees/
You could set up your own Facebook page for your tree or woods as a way to keep supporters in the loop with news.
You could even pay for some local advertising to Facebook users in your area to highlight the issues and get further support. Again you could share this with your local council.
Hashtag everywhere on social media like this. #treesinneed
Find a local aboriculturalist and get them to take a look at your tree and give an assessment of why the tree is special and should be protected. Below is a link to the Aboricultural Association to help you find a trained professional in your area. I have many aboriculturalists in my group who love trees very much so I'm sure you could find one local to you happy to help support your tree. https://www.trees.org.uk/Find-a-professional
The earlier you start raising awareness of special trees in your area the better. I think it is always wise to make the council aware as soon as you can rather than reacting at a later date to a threat to trees when the council has already given relevant permissions to developers. Councils never like to change their minds!
Councils have no legal obligation to put TPOs in place. However they do have an obligation once they are made to enforce them. The financial penalties for harming a tree with a TPO can be severe. A good deterrent to individuals and businesses. It is worth noting that work to carefully maintain the tree is allowed with permission so make sure people know this. This way you stop any potential objections on health and safety grounds for example from falling branches.
Treespect works with communities and their trees particularly in urban areas. So well worth giving their page a like. They have been instrumental in helping the residents of Sheffield protect their trees for example after 10,000 were scheduled for felling by the Labour council. Sean Harding and Rob McBride Treehunter run it and they are also members of my tree group too. https://en-gb.facebook.com/TreespectCIC/ http://www.treehunter.co.uk/
Does your tree have any historical or cultural value? Is it a local landmark? The supporters of the Brimmon Oak in Newtown managed to get a new bypass rerouted in order to save it. It was also named UK Tree of the Year and came second in the European Tree of the Year competition. Rob McBride teamed up with local landowner Mervyn Lloyd Jones to save it. They set up a Facebook group for the tree and we shared the tree to my tree group where it got many hundreds of interactions and a huge amount of publicity. Mervyn also tirelessly promoted the tree to the local media to raise awareness and support and Rob met with him and many officials to get protection in place. Thanks to them this 500 year old tree will hopefully live for another 500 years.
Old trees are vibrant ecosystems supporting far more life than younger trees so be sure to mention that also. If it is ancient you may like to take a look at these Ancient Tree sites here http://www.ancienttreeforum.co.uk https://www.treeregister.org/
www.jackinthegreen.org is donating 100% of its profits to help trees. So if you are looking for an ethical gift this is the place to start.
If you have a tree or woodland you are looking to get a TPO on I wish you every success and I hope the above helps. Have I missed anything out? Feel free to let me know.
If you are not a member of the ancient and sacred tree groups on Facebook already feel free to join and share your beautiful trees. The British one is the biggest but we also have ones for America, Europe, Asia and the World.(Links listed on this site) If you'd like to submit a blog article about your tree or woodland feel free! You contact me via this website.
If you're not a member yet here on the website, come join our #CommuniTree! It's free.
With very best wishes
Amanda. Founder of Ancient and Sacred Trees