Tree policy 2018-2028


Arun District Council’s trees are of significant environmental and aesthetical value to its residents. They enhance parks and green spaces, provide a habitat for wildlife, act as the district’s lungs and help to reduce the rising temperatures caused by climate change. Arun District Council’s recognises these benefits, seeking to preserve healthy trees and encourage the planting of new trees where possible.

Whilst the majority live and grow without incident, a number of trees pose challenges and risks that need to be managed. This policy outlines how we intend to manage the tree stock effectively, and how we reduce the risk that certain trees pose to the public.

The district council is responsible for over 20,000 trees on land owned by the district council. These are managed through specialist officers within the council’s Greenspace Service, with practical work undertaken by the council’s in-house Arboricultural Team or ‘Tree Gang’.

Nationally, the risk of harm from trees is very low. The risk of death from trees has been estimated as 1 in 10 million and that of serious injury as 1 in 1 million1 . Despite these very low risks, the danger from trees is not always perceived as low by the public and the consequences of tree failures can be very newsworthy because of their rarity. Additionally individual trees and groups of trees may have a high risk of causing harm due to their condition and location; for example over mature trees in declining health in a busy city centre or beside a busy, high speed road.

Guidance from the National Tree Safety Group (NTSG) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) clearly indicates that, in order to comply with legal obligations, the management of risks from trees should be based upon what is ‘reasonable’, therefore consideration must be given by Arun to the actual risks, alongside the availability of resources.

This tree policy does not cover trees in private ownership which are outside Arun District Councils control. Trees in private ownership are the responsibility of the respective landowner. The policy does not cover Tree Preservation Orders, conservation areas or high hedge legislation which is administered by the council’s Planning Department.

1The National Tree Safety Group Report, Bringing Common Sense to Tree Management, 2010