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Trees

Check our pruning schedule, find out what trees we're responsible for, what to do about a neighbour's tree or a tree that blocks light, or report a different issue with a tree.

Trees we're responsible for

We manage almost all council-owned trees, including amenity green trees found on grassed areas around housing estates, council-owned flats and on the corners of roads.

We also manage trees planted along roads and adopted public rights of way, in car parks, on roundabouts, on central reservations, on highway verges, parks and cemeteries.

Pruning schedule

We maintain our trees on cyclical pruning schedules, usually running from October to March. The majority of the trees are pruned once every 3 years but we also prune throughout the year as tree surveys are completed.

We only work outside these schedules if the tree is dead, dying or we've inspected it and consider it dangerous. All our trees are inspected for health and safety issues every 3 years.

    Some species of trees require pollarding, a pruning method that restricts the height of a tree. This can be either annually, 2 years or 3 years.

    Street trees

    Street trees are on a 3-year pruning cycle for non-pollarded trees. Pollarded trees are pruned every 1, 2 or 3 years.

    Amenity green trees

    Amenity greens are grassed areas around housing estates, council-owned flats and on the corners of roads. These are all pruned every 3 years.

    Park trees

    Park trees are inspected every 3 years. Work is only undertaken if deemed necessary after inspection.

    Check our pruning schedule

    Enter a street name to check the next pruning date for street or amenity trees on our pruning schedule. Park trees are not included on the schedule as they are inspected every 3 years and work is only undertaken if deemed necessary after inspection.

    Trees we're not responsible for Toggle accordion

    Council properties - individual gardens

    Under your tenancy agreement you're responsible for the maintenance of your garden, including trees.

    Private property

    We do not undertake works on privately owned trees. These include trees in private gardens, alleys or land.

    To investigate land ownership make a Land Registry search.

    School trees

    We will only inspect school trees at the request of the school. Contact the relevant school if you are concerned about a tree located within its grounds.

    Dealing with a neighbour's tree Toggle accordion

    Anyone can plant any tree of any size anywhere on their land.

    If a neighbour has a large tree growing close to your boundary, their only obligation is to make sure it is safe.

    That means they have no responsibility for leaves from their tree blocking your gutters – leaf fall is regarded as a natural event for which the owner can't be held responsible. 

    However, if your neighbour has planted a very tall evergreen hedge, you might be able to make a complaint. More information is available from Department for Communities and Local Government.

    Overhanging trees

    If a neighbour’s tree overhangs your boundary, you have some rights to manage the branches and roots that extend into your property.

    However, before you undertake any work it is important to check the tree is not covered by a Tree Preservation Order, or located within a conservation area.

    Pruning overhanging branches

    You may prune the branches of trees and hedges overhanging your land, up to the boundary. You do not need the owner’s permission, but you must not trespass onto their land to carry out the work. You must offer to return the cut wood and any fruit that is attached or has fallen onto your land.

    Pruning roots

    If you think the roots of your neighbour’s tree are causing damage to your property, you should seek advice from a tree care professional or a building surveyor. If they confirm your suspicions, notify your building insurer. The insurer may carry out further investigations and negotiate with your neighbour and their insurer.

    Your responsibilities

    You have a duty of care and may be held liable for criminal damage if any work you do (or ask others to do on your behalf) causes the tree to die or become dangerous.

    Safety concerns

    If you are worried about the safety of a neighbour’s tree, it is important to make sure that it really is dangerous before taking any steps. You should contact a specialist tree consultant or contractor. Once you're sure of your facts, you should notify the owner of the tree and ask them to address the problem.

    If they fail to do so and damage accrues from this negligence, you may take action against them through the courts. It may be possible to obtain an injunction requiring the owner to take any necessary action.

    What we can do

    We only have the power to deal with trees which are imminently dangerous, such as uprooted trees and fallen trees. We can't take action against a neighbour’s tree or a tree on private land just because of any fear or apprehension it causes you.

    Advice on trees that block light

    There’s no legislation compelling owners to control the height of their trees, unlike evergreen hedges. If a neighbour’s tree is blocking light from your property, they have no legal responsibility to resolve the issue.

    If you have concerns regarding a hedge or tree

    Ask your neighbour how they intend to maintain it. You may be able to cut the overhanging branches back to the boundary.

    Civil action

    In some cases you might be able to bring a civil action against your neighbour. You should consult a solicitor to see if you have grounds to proceed with this. We cannot become involved in this issue.

    If you think a council-owned tree has damaged your property Toggle accordion

    If you think a council-owned tree is damaging your property you should provide an independent surveyor’s report to that effect, including evidence. Your insurance company may be able to advise you on this matter.

    The details, claim and proof of damage should be sent to our insurance team by emailing insurance@lbbd.gov.uk.  

    Report a problem with a tree

    We only inspect a reported issue with a tree if it’s on public land or if it’s on private land and blocking a public right of way. If the tree does not fit into either of these categories, we will not inspect it. If the tree is on private land and not blocking a public right of way, you should report it to the landowner.

    Use our form to report an issue with a tree. To use the form, you need to be signed in to your Barking and Dagenham council My Account. If you don't have one, you can register for My Account. Before reporting a tree problem, check our pruning schedule as the tree you are concerned about may be due to be pruned.

    Report an issue with a tree