Strengthening our roots: an overview report on tree protection in the planning system
This report was prepared in response to concerns about the protection given to trees and the lack of enforcement action following reported breaches of Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs).
The report found that despite 369 tree protection breaches reported between 2019 and 2022, only one resulted in enforcement action being taken, and none led to prosecution.
It also found that despite having significant enforcement powers, less than half of local councils clearly state on their websites that it is a criminal offence to carry out works to protected trees without consent. Others do not make any reference to the consequences of breaches.
It states that a failure to provide clear information to the public has the potential to cause confusion, and risks creating a perception that local councils and the Department for Infrastructure see the protection of trees as a low priority.
Among its 26 recommendations, it suggests that information about which trees are protected should be made more accessible, and that the Department should work more closely with the councils to share good practice and expertise.
Department for Infrastructure