Trees on private land are the responsibility of the land owner and not Telford & Wrekin Council. The Council has no powers to intervene in disputes regarding private trees.
The information on this page is designed to provide you with some useful information about your rights and responsibilities in respect of trees and high hedges on private land.
If there are trees or branches that overhang onto your property; you have the right to remove them. It doesn't matter if the tree belongs to the council or if it is your neighbour's, if any branches cross onto your property you can cut them down to your boundary. You do not however have any legal right to cut or remove any part of a tree that does not overhang your property; as doing so could lead to prosecution.
You should talk to your neighbour before doing any work and you should offer the cut branches to them. You have a legal obligation to offer cuttings (not leaves) back to the land owner. In all likelihood your neighbour won't want them back so you should consider disposal of the branches when you cut them down.
If you want to gain access to a tree that is on land that you do not own, you must always get the landowner's permission beforehand.
You are strongly advised to consult a professional tree surgeon for guidance on how best to cut back overhanging branches, unless you have the tools and the work is safe enough to be done yourself.
Trees blocking light and TV signals
There is no general law or legal right to a view. You can exercise your right to remove the overhanging branches but you cannot reduce the height of a tree that you do not own.
In law there is no legal right to a TV signal or satellite reception. If your signal is being interfered with because of a tree or high hedge then contact your satellite or TV provider and they will be able to suggest an alternative solution to the problem.
Trees blocking or overhanging a path or road
Powers exist under the Highways Act to require the owner to remove or cut back a tree or hedge if it
- Blocks the view at a road junction
- Overhangs a road or footpath
- Obstructs a street light, traffic lights or street signs
- Is a danger to the highway
Please use the Obstruction to the highway form to report this
Dangerous trees on private land
If a tree on private land is an immediate danger but is not located on a highway, powers exist under section 23 (1-7) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. In these cases the Council will contact the owner to ask them to make the tree safe. If the works are not undertaken by the owner and the tree has been assessed by a Council Tree Officer to be an immediate danger then the legislation allows the Council to remove the tree and charge the owner the full cost of the work.
Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, which gives local authorities powers to deal with complaints about high hedges came into operation in England on 1 June 2005.
The role of the Planning team is to adjudicate on whether the hedge is adversely affecting the complainant's reasonable enjoyment of their property. Complaints will only be investigated by the Council if you have done everything you reasonably you could to settle your dispute yourself before making a formal complaint.
More information can be found on the Planning pages.
Tree Preservation Orders
In some cases a tree may be protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) if the tree is protected then you will need to get consent from the Planning Team before any work is carried out.