In October 2017 we were contacted by an elderly Staffordshire resident regarding a silver birch tree in her front garden. She had previously applied to her local authority for permission to have the tree removed, but because it was subject to a TPO (Tree Preservation Order), permission had been refused.
She believed the roots of the tree had damaged both a nearby drain and the path leading to her house. Furthermore, she believed it could be in danger of damaging the house itself. Because of her age and the fact she often had visitors with limited vision, the situation was of great concern to her.
Residential / TPO / Legal
We began by paying a visit to our client in order to conduct an arboricultural report on the silver birch. Our main focus was to determine whether the tree was indeed responsible for causing damage to its surroundings.
We were able to ascertain that the roots of the tree had lifted her block-paved pathway and had also started to crack the tarmac of the public pavement. We also observed some cracks below a bedroom window which could be attributed to tree roots, and noted that the tree’s overhanging canopy had potential to damage the roof. Left unaddressed, the damage would only worsen.
After reviewing paperwork pertaining to the Tree Preservation Order we found that it had been issued forty years earlier. Contrary to best practice guidelines, it had not been reviewed in that time. We also noticed some discrepancies in the legal document, suggesting that the TPO may not be legally enforceable.
After presenting our findings to the local authority, they overturned their previous decision, and finally granted our client permission to remove the tree. We were then able to recommend a reputable tree surgeon to carry out the work.