In Palm Developments Limited v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  EWHC 220 (Admin) (Cranston J: 13 February 2009), the Administrative Court has given important guidance on what is a tree.
Cranston J dismissed Palm Developments Limited’s challenge under s.288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against the Secretary of States dismissal of its appeal against Medway Councils refusal of works under a woodland TPO.
The case is of interest because Section 198 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 enables the making of tree preservation orders (TPOs) to preserve trees, groups of trees and woodlands, however there is no statutory definition of a tree. Cranston J concluded that with tree preservation orders there are no limitations in terms of size for what is to be treated as a tree and therefore saplings are trees.
Further, he confirmed that a tree preservation order for a woodland extends to all trees in the woodland, even if not in existence at the time the order is made.
Dan Kolinsky represented the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Edmund Robb represented Medway Council.