Tree guidance

We are responsible for the management of all trees on the public highway and in our parks and green spaces.  

Dangerous trees

If you see a tree on public land that you feel is dangerous, please call 01234 267422 to let us know. We will inspect the tree as a matter of urgency and take action to remove the danger.

During storms or high winds, we receive a high number of reports of damaged trees that may be dangerous. We will assess the level of urgency of each and will deal with them as quickly as we can in order of priority.

Unless there is a genuine emergency, reports will be processed within 30 working days.

Trees causing damage to your property

We will cut back trees from properties where they touch windows, walls, roofs or gutters. This is to avoid damage to aerials, tiles and gutters.

Cases of direct root damage will be considered on an individual basis. 

We will not normally take action on complaints that council trees are damaging drains. Trees do not have the capacity to break into a sound drain, but they will exploit an existing fault. The removal of one tree will not prevent other vegetation from exploiting the same opportunity. The appropriate way to deal with tree root blockage of drains is to ensure that the drains are watertight.

Overhanging trees into your property

Under Common Law you have the right to prune encroaching tree branches or roots back to the boundary of your property.

We don't prune overhanging trees to alleviate the nuisance except in extreme circumstances, or if they are dangerous.

Trees causing a nuisance

There are a variety of potential nuisances associated with trees, most of which are minor or seasonal. Examples are:

  • falling leaves, sap, fruit, nuts, bird droppings or blossom
  • reduction or increase of moisture to gardens
  • suckers or germinating seedlings in gardens
  • leaves falling into gutters, drains or onto flat roofs
  • the build up of algae on fences, paths or other structures

We aren't legally obliged to prune trees that:

  • block light to your property or shade gardens
  • interfere with television or satellite reception  

Ivy on trees

Ivy causes no direct damage to trees. We only remove ivy if it helps us to see how healthy the tree is.

In woodland, ivy has a variety of conservation benefits and forms an integral part of the natural habitat.

In the urban environment, we keep ivy on trees if we can balance these three things: 

  • Tree safety
  • Conservation
  • Aesthetics

Find out more in our tree management guide for residents (PDF)