We are responsible for the efficient management of trees in our ownership. This includes the application of Tree Preservation Orders and the protection of other trees on council owned land.
Statutory tree works
- Dangerous or unstable trees and branches likely to cause injury to persons
- Trees causing or likely to cause damage to property
- Trees obstructing the highway or footpaths
- Trees obstructing streetlights or CCTV cameras
- Other risk related works
Non statutory tree works
We do not have a statutory obligation to deal with the following tree related problems:
- Loss of light / reduced light to properties
- Effects on TV or mobile phone reception
- Obstruction of views
- Interference with private vegetation
- Obstruction of utility cables (These are the responsibility of the statutory provider or cable owner)
- Branches overhanging gardens or buildings unless there is potential or particular risk.
- Minor or seasonal issues such as:
- Honeydew (dripping sap)
- Bird droppings
- Animals gaining access to properties via trees
- Leaf, fruit or flower fall
- Smells generated by trees
- Tree roots growing into adjacent properties
- Other problems judged by the inspecting officer to be relatively minor inconveniences.
We are not usually able to get involved in a dispute that involves a private tree affecting another property or piece of land. Under some circumstances we may take action against the owner of a tree that is causing obstruction of a council owned footpath or road, or is likely to be a danger to the public.
Works will be carried out to improve the condition, appearance and safety of the trees.
Make contact with us if you would like to request works to a tree located on council land or to request the planting of a tree. If your request for a new tree to be planted is agreed, planting will be carried out during the winter, between November and March.
Your request will be investigated within four weeks of your report, and where necessary a team will usually carry out works within 13 weeks of the inspection.
We will not usually remove trees unless one of the following reasons exists:
- A tree is considered dead, dying or dangerous.
- The removal of the tree is to benefit adjacent trees (thinning).
- Trees that are proven, (beyond reasonable doubt), to be the cause of clay shrinkage subsidence.
- The tree has caused damage to or is likely to cause damage to adjacent structures and pruning will not resolve the problem.
- The tree is a species which it is known will ultimately outgrow its location and in doing so unreasonably restrict the use of the area.
- The tree stands in the way of essential development work such as road improvements.
Wherever possible all trees felled will be replaced with a more suitable tree in the same locality, or a suitable tree in a nearby location.
A Tree Preservation Order (TPOs) is designed to protect important trees that make a significant contribution to the character and appearance of the area.
Trees that grow in council owned property or on public open spaces are also protected as they are deemed as council property. Anyone wilfully damaging these trees can be prosecuted.
The benefits of trees
The trees are a highly visible and important part of the town's landscape, which apart from their value to the appearance of the town have many other benefits:
- Value to local wildlife
- Ability to act as sight and sound screens
- Ability to mitigate against the worst extremes of weather, keeping things cooler in summer, warmer in winter and acting as highly effective and long lived windbreaks.
- Giving a sense of continuity and place to our immediate surroundings due to their size and longevity.
- Cleaning pollutants from the air
- Producing oxygen
Advice for people wanting to carry out works to privately owned trees
- Always contact us to ensure that the trees are not protected by a Tree Preservation Order, planning constraints or that the tree is within a Conservation area.
- Always employ a suitable trained professional tree surgeon and ask to see proof that they have Public Liability Insurance.
- Never employ house callers or leaflet droppers claiming to be professional tree surgeons.
- Reputable tree surgeons will always have some form of professional identification and qualification proof so ask to see it.
- Reputable tree surgeons can be found in the Yellow Pages or contact us for further advice.
Stevenage Borough Council