Protected Tree

What is a Tree Preservation Order?

A TPO is a written order which, in general, makes it a criminal offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree protected by that order, or to cause or permit such actions, without the Local Authority’s permission.  The principal purpose of a Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) is to preserve trees which are normally located on privately owned land.

Dan Carter
Dan Carter
Partner & Head of Professional Negligence

All types of tree (but not hedges, bushes or shrubs) can be protected, and a TPO can protect anything from a single tree to all the trees within a defined area or woodland.  There is no statutory definition of what constitutes a “tree” and specialist advice should always be sought before any planned works take place on protected vegetation.

Who Makes These Orders?

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) are made under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation) (England) Regulations 2012. Planning conditions are normally conditions which are applied when planning applications affect existing trees - they are normally only temporary (for up to two years) but some last for longer, and indeed some have no time limit at all, so even if your tree is in an area where no planning permission has been granted recently it is worth checking.

How Do I Find out if a Tree on My Property Has a TPO?

The starting point would be the website which allows a householder to check the status of trees and this can be done prior to the purchase of the property by prospective buyers.  However, some TPO date back to 1949 and there is the possibility that Local Authority records may not be accurate.  A TPO should show up on the Local Land Charge search that your Solicitor undertakes but this is not always the case.

I'm Buying a House Which Has a TPO What Should I Do?

If you are thinking of buying a property or land with which there may be an issue concerning a tree preservation order it may affect the value or restrict the way in which you use your home now and in the future.  Whether the property is in a city such as London or Brighton or in the countryside, our team of experienced residential conveyancing Solicitors can help.

My House Has a Tree Protected by a TPO What Can I Do?

If you are already the property owner you need to be aware that anyone found guilty of such the offences listed above is liable. In serious cases the case may be dealt with in the Crown Court where an unlimited fine can be imposed. If notice of the TPO has not been served on the landowner (and in many cases it has not, or records of the service were not kept), then they may genuinely be unaware of the protection.

In such a case, although an offence may still have been committed, it is likely that any penalty would be less severe than otherwise.  However, if the felling or lopping was necessary for the prevention of a nuisance there will be no offence.  In either case, MW's has experienced civil litigation Solicitors who can help you to resolve the matter.

What Is a Section 221 Notice and How Do I Apply?

Normal TPO procedures apply if a tree in a conservation area is already protected by a TPO, but if a tree in a conservation area is not covered by a TPO you must give written notice to the Local Planning Authority (LPA) of any proposed work, describing what you want to do, at least six weeks before the work starts.

This is called a “section 211 notice” and it gives the LPA an opportunity to consider protecting the tree with a TPO.

If the Local Authority decides to lift the TPO, the usual reason is if there has been some mistake in the making of the Order and a new one is needed to correct it.

Can I Do Works on a Tree Protected by a TPO?

If you want to do works to the trees, don't try to remove the TPO, you only need to apply to the Local Authority for permission to do the works. If you've got a good enough reason then the Local Authority will allow it. If not, they won't.

If the TPO is confirmed it can be modified in the confirmation process and you should seek specialist advice before submitting the notice to avoid missing this opportunity.

If the Local Authority refuse unreasonably, there is an appeal process which is set out in the law and damages can be claimed under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 which normally takes place in the Lands Tribunal.

Landowners should always consider having a survey carried out on the number of trees within an area identified within a TPO, particularly if it is likely that the existing density of trees within the woodland is less than may be assessed by standard planting densities.

If you're in any doubt as to how to do this, call our specialist solicitors who are experienced in dealing with Local Planning Authorities, and they can submit an application for you.

I Have a TPO on My Property and My Conveyancer Didn't Find It When I Bought My House, What Can I Do?

If you bought a property and subsequently discovered that there is a TPO in place that you cannot lift or modify and it was in place when you bought the property, you may be able to make a claim for professional negligence.

You must be able to demonstrate that the omission of the TPO has caused you loss.  

The Court will need to establish that the conveyancer owed "a Duty of Care" to you as the buyer and will consider if:

  1. The damage was foreseeable.
  2. There was a relationship of proximity between the parties.
  3. The imposition of a duty is fair, just and reasonable.

We Can Help

At MW, our mission, is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including property owners who want to get a TPO lifted or have discovered a TPO on their property as a result the negligence of their conveyancer.  Our team of dedicated solicitors have many years of experience dealing with TPOs and Professional Negligence matters.

If you wish to have a free initial discussion about your TPO matter call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at

Millenium Bridge

McMillan Williams Solicitors Limited are excited to announce that it has incorporated South London High Street Law Firm Ormerods with effect from 3rd October 2016. 

McMillan Williams CEO Colum Smith

“At McMillan Williams our mission is to “To make quality legal services accessible to everyone” and this acquisition further extends our capability and presence on the high street.
We welcome the Ormerods team into the MW Family who will complement our already strong team of specialist solicitors helping our clients to achieve pragmatic and affordable justice across all areas of consumer and commercial law.”

Ormerods Managing Partner Simon Cook

“We are looking forward to bringing our historic legal expertise to McMillan Williams.  Their reputation as a modern and forward thinking law firm combined with their extensive infrastructure will enable us to continue to provide excellent service to both existing and new clients alike.”

About McMillan Williams

McMillan Williams Solicitors Limited is a high street law practice with 24 offices across London, The South of England and Devon. Providing pragmatic legal solutions across a full range of consumer and commercial legal disciplines for over 30 years, MW employs over 200 Solicitors and Legal Executives with an annual turnover of £30M.

Note to Ormerods Clients

Ormerods Solicitors continues to trade but cannot undertake reserved legal activity and is not insured to do so.  Any complaint or undertaking you have from Ormerods should be sent to Ormerods at their continuing service address 45 Friends Road, Croydon, CR0 1ED

Death at Work

Equality of Arms for Families at Inquest

In a recent interview with the Guardian, Chief Coroner of England and Wales, Peter Thornton QC said: 

“There are cases where legal aid should, if possible, be made available for families, particularly where one or more organs of the state are represented.”

Helen Clifford
Helen Clifford
Partner & Head of Personal Injury

At McMillan Williams we strongly support the work of Health and Safety Campaign Groups such as The Hazards Campaign and Families against Corporate Killers (FACK) who have long called for the 'equality of arms' for all families of those killed by work.

We welcome what the Chief Coroner says, but we want the right to legal aid for representation at inquests to be extended to all families of those killed by work whether the state is directly involved or not. 

Unequal Representation

Families who face up to companies (large or small) who killed their family members frequently have no legal representation at Inquests, whereas companies, particularly large multinationals, often have access to a slew of expensive barristers and corporate lawyers.  

This means that there is often inadequate examination of the issues or the failings of the companies themselves, and of the failures of state regulatory or enforcement frameworks.  It is these frameworks that are designed to keep work safe and to hold employers to account which contributes to the prevention of future deaths.

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including the families of those who have been killed by work. 

If you need representation or legal advice on attending an inquest call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at  

Social Media

Social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter have revolutionised who, how and the speed at which people can communicate, as well as the permanence of that communication.

They are fantastic tools for the Twenty First Century but one significant downside of them is that they usually require the disclosure of private information/personal data and the relinquishing of control of it to the websites.  Potential consequences of which can lead to breaches of Privacy, Confidence, Online Harassment, Data Protection, Defamation, Malicious Falsehood, Copyright, and Human Rights Law.

Exposing your Personal Information to Strangers

Ryan Dunleavy
Ryan Dunleavy
Partner & Head of Media Law Reputation Management

To set up social media identities people almost always need to provide some information from their private lives and some of their personal data. Many people also choose to go one step further and release and therefore lose control over (to an extent) extra private information that can be accessed by anyone, including people they do not know.

This allows third parties to use the individual’s information as a reference tool and can lead to the harvesting and further dissemination of their data, photographs, etc without their consent.

People join social media websites to communicate and share with others, but by doing so they can also find themselves targeted by trolls, stalkers, and the unscrupulous.

Such a situation can cause damage to ones reputation, lead to further infringements of privacy, harassment, distress, and a general feeling of loss of control.  There is a fine line between wilful disclosure and psychological exposure.

Removal of Information

Social media sites often refuse to remove distressing posts when requested to do so, as we have seen in multiple cases such as when the now imprisoned hate preacher Anjem Choudary posted items on Twitter and YouTube, and the case of the 14 year old suing facebook for not removing pictures of her.

When matters such as the above have been pushed too far, sometimes the only thing that will put a stop to the situation is an injunction from the court.  This can be on numerous grounds such as; privacy, or breach of confidence, or harassment, or data protection, or defamation, or malicious falsehood, or copyright, or under human rights legislation.

We Can Help

At MW our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who have been victims of social media legal infringements.  We represent everyone, not just celebrities and the rich and we offer conditional fee agreements (no win, no fee funding) for these types of cases, where appropriate.

If you feel that you have been subjected to social media legal infringements or wish to talk to one of our specialist social media lawyers, call 0203 551 8500 or email us at

Child Maintenance

If you are involved in court proceedings to divide assets following a divorce, dissolution of a civil partnership or separation of non-married parties, maintenance for children is most likely to be a factor where children are involved.

Non Resident Parent

The parent who does not live with the child full time and who does not have day-to-day care of the child is known as the non-resident parent.  They have a responsibility to pay child maintenance up until the child is a minimum of 16 years old or a maximum age of 20 years old if the child decides to stay enrolled in full time education.

Full time education is defined as being more than 12 hours per week and includes A-levels. Child maintenance is still payable during school breaks and if a child turns 16 years old and leaves school in the summer, child maintenance is usually still payable up until the first week of September of that year. 

Non-resident parents do not have to pay child maintenance if the child decides to continue education to advanced study after A-levels, such as college or university. At that point, children are deemed able to work and pay for themselves.

Private Child Maintenance Agreements

Child maintenance can be agreed privately by the parties directly or through solicitors. Private agreements can be recorded on a private agreement form through the Child Maintenance Options.

This is a flexible option whereby both parties can agree on the amount payable and can change the maintenance rates by agreement if their circumstances change.  In addition neither party will have to pay the Child Maintenance Service fees.

However, privately agreed maintenance agreements are not legally binding.  If the non-resident parent decides to stop paying the child maintenance agreed, the resident parent cannot enforce the agreement.

Application to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS)

If an agreement cannot be made between the parties, the resident parent can make an application to the Child Maintenance Service.  There is an online calculator available to help calculate the amount that the non-resident parent will have to pay a month.

Consent Order

The resident parent can apply to the court to have the private agreement or application to the CMS turned into a consent order to make the agreement legally binding.

If the court makes the order and the non-resident parent fails to pay the maintenance agreed in the consent order, the court will have the power to enforce the order.

Periodic Maintenance Payments and other Financial Provisions

Under the Children Act 1989 the non-resident parent or resident parent can apply to the court for child maintenance to be paid by way of periodical maintenance payments, a lump sum or by a transfer of property into the sole names of one of the parents.

When deciding an application the court will consider all information in the case and in particular the welfare of the child and will look at the following factors:

  • the income, earning capacity, property and financial resources of both parties now and in the future;
  • the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities of the parties now and in the future;
  • the financial needs of the child;
  • the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources of the child;
  • the physical or mental disability of the child and;
  • how the child is or is expected to be educated or trained

Any financial provision that the court orders will last until the child reaches 18 unless they are still in full-time education or there are special reasons why the child maintenance should be continued, for example if the child has a disability.

Mediation before Application

Please be advised that before the parties apply to the court as above, the parties are expected to try and resolve their issues through negotiation and mediation.

We Can Help

At McMillan Williams, our mission is “To make quality legal services accessible to everyone” including those families struggling with Child Maintenance issues.

If you are going through a separation or wish to talk to one of our specialist family solicitors dealing in Child Maintenance issues please call us on 020 3551 8500 or email us at

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