Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) can be a nightmare when you want to extend your home or build in a specific area. You don’t just have to work around the body of the tree, but take precautions to protect the roots. And given the nature of tree roots and how far they spread beneath the ground, that can be really difficult to manage. Especially if you need to excavate your foundations. In many cases, screw piles can provide a workable solution.

Understanding How Screw Piles Can Help When a Tree Preservation Order is in Place

What does it mean to have a TPO in place?

TPOs are designed to protect either individual trees or groups of trees in a specific area. They can be granted for a range of reasons. From heritage and the age of the tree to the importance of the tree to the landscape, people, and wildlife. And the TPO means that the tree is legally protected from all harm. Including:

·        cutting down

·        topping

·        lopping

·        uprooting

·        wilful damage

·        wilful destruction

Can I still build where a TPO is in place?

Just because a TPO is in place on your site, it doesn’t mean that you can’t build. In fact, if you do a quick internet search, you’ll find endless examples of ways in which clever architects have accommodated established trees within their designs. The important thing is that you keep the needs of the tree in mind when planning your build. That may mean adjusting your floor plan, or reconsidering the type of foundation you are going to use.

How can screw piles help on a build when a TPO is in place?

As we’ve already mentioned, one of the biggest problems when planning builds when a TPO is in place is the foundations. Large scale excavations will almost inevitably damage the roots of the tree, and will therefore breach the TPO. Screw piles provide an excavation-free solution. Screwing directly into the earth, without need for preparatory digging, the piles can be placed around the most obvious roots. And will cause minimal damage to the root system. Because the piles cause so little disturbance, any roots that are accidently damaged when the piles are installed, can regrow. Meaning that the tree is not at all destabilised and any damage caused is minimal. While you can continue your build in confidence.

Can screw piles be used in all TPO areas?

No. All TPOs (and root protection areas (RPA) carry different clauses. So, before you commence any construction work, you will need to thoroughly research the terms and conditions that apply. However, in most cases, the use of screw piles is permitted in builds where protection orders are in place.

Tree Preservation Orders can feel massively problematic when you first start planning a build. But if you work with sensitivity and think beyond the obvious, there usually ways around most problems. And with screw piles, managing tree roots is simply a matter of careful planning.

Find out more about the screw piles you’ll need for your next project with UK Helix

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