Your responsibilities for trees on your property

If you own land or property that includes trees that are close to a road or pavement, you must make sure they are safe by arranging for them to be regularly inspected, preferably by a specialist. The Arboricultural Association can help you find a tree care professional.

You must take action if a tree on your land:

  • stops vehicles or pedestrians using the road or pavement safely
  • is dead or might fall down
  • blocks the line of sight at a road junction
  • blocks streetlights, pelican crossings or road signs.

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If a tree on your land overhangs the road

Please trim it back so that there are no low hanging branches. The minimum height allowed for overhanging branches depends on the type of road. The rules are:

  • For A roads - you must prune any overhanging branches lower than 7m above the road
  • For B and C roads - you must prune any overhanging branches lower than 6m above the road
  • For D roads/unclassified - you must prune any overhanging branches lower than 5.4m above the road
  • Over footways, pavements and pathways you must prune any overhanging branches lower than 2.3m.

To find your road type (classification), see the Surrey Interactive Map, select Roads and transport then Road Network from the menu of the right, select street name and type in your road name; refresh the map and select the road to display your road's details, including a number that starts with a letter which is your road's classification.

The image below shows the rules for the minimum height allowed for overhanging branches by road type, as described above. (Please select the image to see a larger version.)

Diagram showing branches of trees overhanging the highway area that would need to be trimmed back

Before you carry out work on your tree

Please contact us if you or your tree specialist intend to carry out work on your trees from the road or pavement. We want to ensure safety measures are in place to protect you, vehicles and pedestrians.

If your tree has a Tree Preservation Order

If your tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order and you want to carry out work on it. You have to tell your local borough or district council about the work.

If we have identified a hazard on your property

If our highway tree inspections were to identify a tree on your property as a hazard, we would send you a letter to let you know about our concern and what you need to do to fix it. We will also send you a document that includes frequently asked questions about resolving tree issues (PDF) and provides more information about land owner's responsibilities. Additionally, we will give you a timeframe in which you will need to complete the work to remove the hazard.

Files available to download