The Highways Act 1980 requires 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.
If a tree in private ownership is shown to be an imminent danger to the highway it will be identified for work to make it reasonably safe. An imminent danger is where a tree or a substantial part of the tree is about to fall at any moment:
- snapped or blown over
- fallen on to house or car
- failure of a major fork (split trunk or major limb)
- large branch has broken off or is hanging off the tree
- blocking road, footpath, access to property
- uprooted but held up by another tree or building
- rocking at its base – roots are damaged
- root plate moving
- catastrophic root damage (for example, half of the root system removed by trenching)
- extensive root decay with signs of fracture
- extensive trunk decay with buckling evident
- crack or cavity in a major branch (above 150mm in diameter) with insufficient safety reserves to prevent the branch from falling.
Please use our online form to report your issue:
What happens next?
If a tree is shown to be an imminent danger our tree contractor will be instructed to attend site within 2 hours to make the situation safe, the landowner will be contacted (but only if known in an emergency situation) and instructed to make the tree safe under the Highways Act 1980. If the owner fails to carry out work to make the tree safe and it is necessary that the Council undertake this work then the owner will be charged in full for the Council’s costs.
If not an emergency situation a site inspection will be undertaken within 20 working days of receipt and the customer notified of what action is considered appropriate. The owner of the tree will be informed of what works they are responsible for to make the situation safe. If the owner of the tree fails to carry out the works and it is decided that the Council should undertake the works after the appropriate notices have been given then our contractor will be engaged to carry the works out. The full cost of this work will be recovered from the owner of the tree.