Council owned trees
Frequently asked questions
- A council owned tree is blocking light to my property, or causing a general "nuisance", what is the council’s policy on this? (Pruning policy)
- A council owned tree is affecting my TV/Sky reception? Who should I contact?
- I want the council owned tree outside my house to be removed, is this possible?
- The growth from the lime tree outside my house is blocking the pavement, who should I report this too?
- I want a tree planted outside my house, who should I contact?
- I am interested in the Adopt a Tree Scheme, can I have some more information?
- I think a Council owned tree is damaging my property, what should I do?
- A tree has been vandalised, who should I contact?
A council owned tree is blocking light to my property, or causing a general "nuisance", what is the council’s policy on this? (Pruning policy)
Routine Inspections of Trees
Every year thousands of council owned trees are inspected in detail, and recorded on our database. Any appropriate work is identified and instructions are given to our contractor. This routine pruning maintains the trees in safe condition and addresses many residents’ concerns such as overhanging branches, controlling the growth and size of the tree, improving light to houses etc.
We receive thousands of tree-pruning requests each year, for a variety of reasons. The following problems, which are often the subject of such requests, are not a legal nuisance, and the Council has therefore adopted a policy whereby trees are not pruned on request if it is for any of the following reasons:
- Loss of light/reduced light to properties
- Effects on TV reception (satellite or terrestrial television)
- Obstruction of views
- Interference with private vegetation
- Obstruction to CCTV Cameras
- Obstruction of telephone/utility cables (these are the responsibility of the statutory undertaker)
- Minor obstruction of street lights.
- Trees interfering with, or suppressing vegetation under adjacent ownership.
- Minor or seasonal "nuisances" ( for example: Honeydew, bird droppings, squirrels, leaf, fruit or flower fall, smells from trees)
Whilst we appreciate these problems, they are judged a relatively minor inconvenience when considering the many benefits of having trees within an urban environment, therefore the Council is unable to prune trees on request outside of this annual programme unless due to a immediate safety concern.
View the full tree strategy for pruning and planting(pdf, 57KB).
We will not prune trees to remedy loss of television reception, and we would suggest that you contact your service provider.
The Council will not remove any trees under its ownership, unless one of the following reasons exists:
1. Trees that are considered dead, dying or dangerous. Trees deemed to be in this category, will have been professionally assessed by one of our qualified Arboricultural officers, based on a detailed inspection of the biological and/or mechanical condition of the tree(s)
- Dead Tree: Tree that has no, or minimal, live growth present within in the crown.
- Dying Tree: Tree that is in the process of irreversible decline / senescence.
- Dangerous Tree: Biological and / or mechanical defects are noted, and the likelihood of failure is deemed high
2. Removal of council owned trees to benefit adjacent trees, for example self-sown trees in parks that are being suppressed by nearby trees.
3. Trees that are proven (beyond reasonable doubt) to be the sole cause of clay shrinkage subsidence.
Trees will not be removed for the following reasons:
- To increase light penetration to properties.
- To allow the implementation of new vehicular crossovers.
- To improve views.
- To alleviate any of the situations listed in the Pruning Requests section above
The growth from the lime tree outside my house is blocking the pavement, who should I report this too?
All council owned trees that are known to produce profuse basal growth (such as lime trees) are included in a biannual programme where the growth is removed twice each year.
This work is undertaken between May and September each year.
Due to the vast amount of basal growth removal undertaken each season, it is not possible for us to give an exact timeframe for the work in each road. If however particular trees are of concern, then email email@example.com (with a subject heading “LIMES”) and we endeavour to prioritise the site as deemed appropriate.
We are committed to planting new trees, and ensuring that the visual amenity of the street scene in the borough is assured for future generations.
We maintain an up to date database of sites that we have identified as possible locations for new trees, and receive many additional requests in addition to these each year. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and if you wish for a site to be added to this list.
Those sites that are deemed suitable for new trees are then prioritised in close liaison with the Cabinet Member for the Environment, with any remaining locations being carried over into future planting seasons. We are currently concentrating our efforts on the five areas of relative social deprivation in the borough.
Unfortunately, not all suitable planting pits can be filled each season; we will however retain your request on our database with the plan of planting there in the near future.
The Adopt a Tree Scheme is looking to our communities to help us continue the work that we have been enabled to carry out following the Council’s investment in its street trees.
We are looking for you to find a tree or trees and make a decision to adopt them. You can help us to ensure Richmond's urban forest is a thriving one.
Find out more about the Adopt a Tree Scheme.
If you believe that a tree which is owned by the council is causing damage to your property, you are able to make a claim through the Council’s Insurance Department
The burden of proof with any such claim is on the claimant, and it is therefore essential that any such claims forms are accompanied by detailed information showing why the council tree in question is the cause of the alleged damage.
We will not be able to assess any claims until this form is received and logged by the insurance department. This may include reports from experts, such as drainage engineers of building surveyors. Claim forms should be accompanied by a minimum of two quotes to repair the damage.
Once we have received the form, it will be forwarded to our Insurance Department who will deal with it within their procedures.
Dealing with vandalised trees is an unfortunate aspect of our job. When trees are vandalised, wherever possible we will try and “save” them, however if trees are irreparably damaged, removal may be the only option. Sites where trees are removed will be added to our planting list
Contact us with any reports of such damage, and we will take the appropriate action.
Contact Customer Services
For tree enquiries, contact our Customer Services Team.
Telephone: 0845 612 2660
Our office hours are 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
Outside these hours for emergencies such as fallen trees, telephone Careline on 0845 600 7413.