A tree preservation order prevents the cutting down, uprooting, topping, lopping, wilful destruction or damage of trees protected by an order. They are local land charges so a local land charge search should reveal their existence. Like all local land charges, tree preservation orders are overriding interests so will bind any purchaser, tenant or chargee of land.

The Government is not proposing to change the level of protection which TPOs afford protected trees. Instead it wants to simplify the procedure for the making and administering of orders. At present the law is spread across various regulations. In addition, different rules apply depending on when the order was made. The model form of a TPO now runs to twelve pages.

The consultation document says the Government wishes to put all TPOs - existing as well as ones created after any change- on the same footing. A new model TPO form will not exceed two pages with the details of protected trees and a map showing their location. General regulations will provide for the means of administering orders. The consultation paper cites an example of proposed simplification with regard to the duty of local authorities to notify interested persons about proposed orders or variations to existing ones. At present the duty is to advise the owner and occupier of the land on which the trees are situated together with owners and occupiers of adjoining land. The latter requirement can involve an authority having to send out numerous notices to persons who may, for example, live in a block of flats adjoining the land on which the trees are growing. The intention is to confine the recipients to the owners and occupiers of the land where the trees grow plus any person known to have a right to cut or fell the trees.