Council owned trees
It is our legal responsibility to reduce and remove tree related risks on council owned land.
We only take care of council owned trees. If a tree or hedge is in a garden or other private land it is the responsibility of the owner.
How we manage our trees
Trees causing shade, overhanging or touching a property
We will not remove or prune a council owned tree in order to lessen shade.
There is no legal requirement for tree owners to remove or prune their trees to improve the amount of natural light that reaches a neighbouring property.
Trees touching buildings
Where a council owned tree is touching a building, for example a house, garage or wall, we will take action before any damage is caused.
Trees overhanging a property
We will not prune or remove a council owned tree to remove the nuisance of overhanging branches.
A property owner has a legal right to remove an overhanging branch from a neighbour’s tree at the point where it crosses the property boundary. For more information see private trees and hedges.
Trees causing obstruction or interference
Obstruction to highway sight lines and signs or traffic lights
We will prune or remove council owned trees that obstruct sight lines on highways or adopted roads, or where they obstruct traffic lights or highway information signs.
Trees obstructing a view
We will not remove or prune trees in order to improve a view from a property. There is no legal right to a view and the Council has no obligation to improve a view obstructed by a tree.
Telephone wires caught up in trees
We will not prune or remove a council owned tree to remove or reduce interference with telephone wires.
Trees, solar panels and television satellites
We will not prune or remove council owned trees to facilitate the installation of solar panels or improve TV reception and satellite signal.
Trees obstructing street lights
We will undertake work to council owned trees to ensure that trees do not unduly obstruct street lights.
Natural tree issues
We will not prune or remove a council owned tree in order to remove or reduce bird droppings. Birds naturally roost in trees. While their droppings may be a nuisance this is not considered to be a sufficient reason to prune or remove a tree.
Warm, soapy water will usually be sufficient to remove bird droppings.
Fallen fruit, berries and nuts
We will not normally prune or remove a council owned tree to remove or reduce the nuisance of fallen fruit, berries or nuts. We will not remove such fallen fruit from private land.
Consideration will be given where fallen fruit is leading to significant antisocial behaviour problems or risk from slips, trips and falls.
We will not prune or remove a council owned tree to reduce autumn leaf fall. The clearance of autumn leaves from gardens and gutters is regarded as being part of normal property maintenance and is the property owner or tenant’s responsibility.
Paths in our parks and green spaces are regularly cleared of fallen leaves. Leaves on grass and shrub beds are generally left until the majority of leaves have fallen before we remove them.
We will not normally prune or remove a council owned tree because it is alleged to bear poisonous fruit or foliage. Where evidence can clearly show that unsupervised children are likely to be exposed to a council owned tree that bares poisonous fruit, appropriate action may be considered.
Sap falling on surfaces
We will not prune or remove a council owned tree in order to remove or reduce honeydew or other sticky residue falling from trees. Honeydew is caused by greenfly feeding on leaves and excreting a sugary sap. Honeydew is a natural and seasonal event. If honeydew is colonised by moulds, it becomes duller and may turn black.
Some trees, such as limes or sycamore, are more prone to attack by greenfly.
Warm, soapy water will usually be sufficient to remove honeydew from cars.
Trees and personal medical complaints
We will not normally prune or remove a council owned tree where a request has been made to do so because of a personal medical complaint. We have no legal responsibility to remove a tree under such circumstances.
We will not prune or a council owned tree to remove or reduce fallen blossom. We will not remove fallen blossom from private land.
Tree blossom is a natural event, usually signalling the arrival of spring or early summer, and cannot be avoided by pruning. We will clear fallen blossom from paths through our parks and green spaces as required.
We will not prune or remove a council owned tree to remove or reduce pollen.
Wild animals and insects
We will not prune or remove a council owned tree to remove or reduce alleged problems caused by wild animals or insects such as bees and wasps.
We work with AGSOne to offer a pest control service. There is a fee for this service.
Trees relating to building and construction
Trees alleged to be causing building subsidence
Where evidence is provided that confirms that a council owned tree is implicated in building subsidence, we will take appropriate action. You should contact your home buildings insurers as soon as possible.
Further information is available in our Tree Policy [pdf] 473KB
Trees and drains
We will not prune, remove or cut the roots of a council owned tree to prevent roots entering a drain that is already broken or damaged.
Tree roots typically invade drains that are already broken or damaged. Trees themselves will rarely break or damage the drain in the first place.
If you are concerned about the condition of your drains you should contact your water and sewerage company.
Removal or pruning of trees to facilitate demolition or construction
We will not automatically permit the pruning or felling of a council owned tree to allow building works to proceed.
Trees on our housing land
The maintenance of trees in council house gardens
We will undertake all work required to trees on our housing land.
If you are a housing association tenant you can make a request through your housing association office. No assistance can be given to private homeowners or tenants.
Responsibility for trees in the garden of a former housing property
Trees within the garden of a former council property that has passed into private ownership are the responsibility of the owner.
Routine tree maintenance
Rolling maintenance programme
We maintain a rolling maintenance programme which aims to reduce potential future risks and issues.
Tree planting and replacement
We aim to replace every tree we cut down to ensure that over the years the district retains its tree stock for future generations. However, it is not always practical to replace a tree in the same location or with the same species that was previously planted.
Working with various community groups we consider new planting schemes following the Right Tree – Right Place policy.
Trees alleged to be too big or too small
We will not normally prune or remove a council owned tree because it is considered to be too big or too small for its location.
Tree safety inspections
We conduct safety inspections in areas of:
- high usage (each year)
- medium usage (every 3 years)
- low usage (every 5 years)
You can find further detailed information within our Tree Policy [pdf] 475KB
Emergency safety issue (where a tree is in immediate danger of collapse or causing an obstruction requiring urgent attention)
We will attend the site within 1 hour to make the situation safe
Non-emergency safety issue
A site inspection will be undertaken within 10 working days and we will notify the customer of the action we will take
All other enquiries
We will respond within 10 working days. If a site inspection is required it will be undertaken within 10 weeks