Who is responsible for looking after trees?
The owner of the land that the trees grow on is responsible for the tree. Trees growing exactly on a boundary can be jointly owned. If we do not own the land, you will need to contact the legal owner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you help remove or cut back trees from my garden?
- If you are a Housing Association tenant ask your Housing Association Office
- There's no assistance available for private home owners or tenants.
Will you remove or cut back a tree which is growing near my garden?
- If we own the tree, each case is looked at individually.
Do I need planning permission to plant trees?
- You do not need to apply for planning permission to plant trees
- Make sure that you are not planting trees too near buildings as growing trees could damage foundations or deprive your neighbours of light.
Do I need permission from you before I cut down or prune trees?
You should check if the tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or if it is in a Conservation Area, see:
Additionally, in certain circumstances, you may require a Felling Licence from the Forestry Commission:
You should also check whether the trees are subject to a planning condition:
Can I cut back branches that overhang into my garden?
Before cutting back a tree always check whether the tree is:
- protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or
- in a Conservation Area
If a tree is protected in any way, you will need to apply for our permission.
If the tree isn't protected or owned by us you can cut it back to your boundary but you should inform the owner of the tree that you will be doing this and offer them the branches back. You should not damage the tree in doing the work.
Will you remove or cut back trees overhanging a footpath or a highway?
Report trees, hedges and other overgrown shrubbery overhanging footpaths and highways to:
What is the height limit for trees in residential properties?
There is no maximum height beyond which tree owners must not allow their trees or hedges to grow.
They can be as tall as the owner wishes provided they do not cause damage to adjoining property unless restrictions are imposed through other controls such as covenants or planning conditions.
Do I have a ‘right to light’?
The ‘right to light’ is often quoted in relation to trees cutting out light to an adjacent property.
Whilst there is an established right in the case of new buildings obstructing light, there is no clear precedent that trees cutting out light can infringe a person’s ‘right to light’.
Where there is an evergreen hedge blocking light, it may be considered under Part 8 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act.
Advice on ash dieback
If you think a tree is suffering from Ash dieback or another tree disease you can get advice on what to look for and how to report an infected tree on the:
Selecting a tree surgeon
A tree surgeon, sometimes described as an arboriculturist, arborist or arboricultural contractor, will do tree work to a specification.
Typically, a tree surgeon carries out tree work and provides general advice on tree management and maintenance.
Arboricultural consultants provide advice in relation to tree preservation law, trees and development, assess trees for hazards and where appropriate provide remedial work and investigate cases where trees are alleged to be involved in structural damage to buildings,. They will typically also provide expert witness testimony to courts and inquiries.
Tips on selecting a contractor:
- See the list of approved contractors on the Arboricultural Association website
- Get at least three written quotes.
- Seek recommendations from friends and neighbours - we can’t make recommendations.
- Tell the contractor when you would like the work to be done as quotes may only be valid for a certain time.
- Enquire about a contractor’s qualifications and experience.
- Let the contractors know your decision be it acceptance or refusal.
- You should generally avoid door-knockers.
- The contractor should provide proof of at least £2 million Public Liability Insurance.
- Reputable contractors will be happy to answer all of your questions.
- Get the details of the work to be done and the agreed cost in writing.
- Ensure the tree debris will be disposed of properly.