Advice for tree owners
Managing Your Trees
Land owners are responsible for the maintenance and inspection of all trees growing on their property.
Before you undertake or authorise any tree work contact the Countryside Officer to establish whether or not your trees are:
- protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO)
- included in a Conservation Area
- subject to any other restrictions
If you would like someone to carry out work on any of your trees you should employ a qualified tree contractor. Tree Surgeons should be fully qualified in tree surgery, carry out work in accordance with British Standard 3998 for Tree Work, and insured for public liability to a minimum value of £5 million. Arboricultural Consultants should be fully qualified to inspect trees, and should be insured for both public liability and indemnity.
If you employ an unqualified tree contractor you are taking a risk, you may be held liable if an unqualified uninsured contractor has an accident on your property. Tree work is dangerous and all work should be done in accordance with all of the relevant Health and Safety requirements. We advise you to never employ anybody that knocks on your door offering to prune trees.
In order to give you a starting point the Council has produced a list of Tree Care Specialists, the Council does not routinely check the qualifications and insurance of those on the list. Before hiring a specialist from the list you must check the qualifications and insurance of the contractor.
It is important that the owner of any trees of significant size has them regularly inspected by a fully qualified and insured professional consultant. It is recommended that such an inspection should take place at least every 5 years. In addition to the professional inspection a tree owner should inspect their trees personally on a regular basis, in particular after stormy weather and high winds. The Council can offer you advice if you are unsure as to what steps to take if you detect a change in the condition of the tree(s).
Tree inspections should be carried out by fully qualified arboricultural consultants, not by tree surgeons (unless they also have qualifications and experience in tree inspection). It is standard practice to first conduct a visual tree inspection from ground level, and then if necessary further inspections can be made by climbing the tree or by conducting tests on structural integrity (using a resistograph or picus device).
You are advised not to undertake any tree work yourself because height and the use of cutting tools make tree work extremely dangerous.
The Council suggests these rules:
- The tree is too large for you to prune if it is necessary for you to use a ladder.
- If the branch is more than 5cm in diameter it should be dealt with by a professional.
- Never use a chainsaw unless you have received full training (NPTC) and have full protective equipment.
- Do not attempt to carry out tree work near power lines.
- Stay away from storm damaged trees.
Where a need can be demonstrated limited grant funding is available to help cover a portion of the cost of tree inspections, tree surgery and tree planting.
Applications should be submitted to the Countryside Officer in letter form by email or post, and must include at least two quotes for the proposed work. Quotes should be from fully qualified and insured contractors.
Application letters should include the following information:
- Full details of the proposed work
- Reasons why the work is necessary
- Details of if/how the work will benefit the wider community
- Full details of two written quotes from qualified and insured contractors
- Details of why the grant is required (eg. the cost of the work is very high, or the individual or organisation is suffering from financial hardship)
For further information please contact the Countryside Officer.
For information on firewood please take a look at the firewood guide.