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How we maintain our trees

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What we do to keep roads and pavements safe

Our team of tree specialists check our trees on a three or five year cycle. Their checks include:

  • locating and recording structural defects
  • checking for disease
  • assessing the tree's condition.

The tree is given a risk score out of 5, with 5 being the highest risk. The score takes into account the number of users of the road and reflects the potential risk of harm or damage that could be caused if any part of the tree were to fall down.

Our aim is to keep as many trees as possible. We do not remove trees with minor defects. Only trees that are dead, diseased or may collapse are removed. We may remove parts of a tree that have died or where there is a very high risk of falling branches causing harm or damage due to their size.

Tree score (out of 5) When we will carry out work
5 within 60 days
4 within 12 months
1-3 recorded and monitored only

Keeping pavements clear

We deliver an annual maintenance programme to trim back growth from tree bases. This happens between the end of May and the beginning of September. We have a list which guides our contractors to maintain the same trees every year.

Keeping roads clear

We prioritise pruning of large trees on bus routes to remove tree branches that could damage high sided vehicles.

Avoiding accidental damage

We carry out work on trees where there is a history of accidental damage to property and claims against the council. We do this every two or four years to a set programme. The programme is aimed at minimising risk to property.


How we handle your reports and enquiries

Report a problem with a tree

If you report a dead, dying or dangerous tree that is on or close to roads or pavements, we will carry out an assessment to see if work is needed.

Our Local Highway officers (LHO) who have a basic understanding of trees but are not specialists, will make a visual inspection of the tree and look for any obvious hazards and may ask our tree specialists for advice. We will let you know what we decide to do after we have carried out the assessment.

The tree will be assigned a risk priority number and will either be monitored or scheduled for tree works.

When we don't take action

We often have to say no to requests to cut or remove trees. Instead, we focus on the trees that our specialists say are most likely to cause harm or damage.

We are unlikely to take action if the reported issue with one of our trees is because it is:

  • shading a property
  • shading solar panels
  • touching telephone lines
  • touching power lines
  • touching buildings
  • overhanging boundaries
  • bearing fruits, seeds or leaves before or after they leave the tree
  • encouraging roosting birds
  • interfering with digital or terrestrial signals
  • requiring the removal of twigs and small bits of deadwood.

However, if one of our trees is overhanging your boundary line, it may be trimmed back but only if it won't harm the tree and is safe to do so. If the work requires anything more than pruning by secateurs or loppers from the ground, therefore if it involves the sawing of branches at height, over your boundary, then a tree care professional will be required to do the work for safety reasons and to avoid damaging the tree. Please contact us contact us first for approval.

We do not remove one of our trees solely because:

  • it has minor defects
  • it has grown to its natural height
  • it is depositing debris such as leaves, seeds or honey dew
  • it is inconvenient for planning applications
  • it is considered too close to a property for building insurance, unless it is subject to a claim.

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