A solicitor is warning landowners to thoroughly check for tree preservation orders before carrying out landscaping work, or face large fines.
A TPO is an order made by the local planning authority to protect trees – perhaps a specific tree or woodlands – and prevents activities including cutting down, lopping and willful destruction without the authority’s written consent.
Anyone found guilty of breaking a TPO may be taken to court and face a fine of up to £20,000 per tree affected.
One recent case saw a North West homeowner fined £15,000 for breaching an order after cutting down a number of trees. A local farmer who helped cut down the trees was also fined £3,000.
Terry Griffin, partner in the litigation and dispute Resolution team at Fylde law firm Napthens, said it is up to landowners to ensure that they comply with TPOs.
He said: “There can be serious repercussions for landowners if they damage or remove a tree or woodland area subject to a TPO, but we see this happen from time to time.
“Land earmarked for development, or the expansion of a property, farm or business could all face this issue."