Urban Forestry Strategy

 The Council has an adopted Urban Forestry Strategy (TreeStrategy),which covers a period of 5 years. 

The Strategy outlines the Councils' legal commitments and policy obligations as set by central government.  We then use this information to meet the needs of the local community and fiscal controls.  We ensure to be consistent to all residents in the District and will only carry out works when there is a public safety concern.

Dangerous trees requiring immediate action 

If a council owned tree is in such a condition that it poses a very high risk to people or property and is considered to be an emergency situation, instruction will be given to our tree contractor to make the tree safe within 24 hours.

1. If a tree poses an immediate and present danger it will be made safe within 24 hours (Very High Risk - emergency situation). If the level of risk is lower the tree will be made safe within 2 weeks (High Risk) or 2 months (Medium Risk).

2. Signs to look for which may mean that a tree is in such condition to warrant immediate attention include a tree which is:

a) Snapped or blown over

b) Rocking at its base – roots are damaged

c) Uprooted but held up by another tree or building

d) Large branch has broken off or is hanging off the tree

e) Blocking road, footpath, access to property

f) Fallen on to house or car

3. Signs to look out for which may mean that a tree is a risk to people or property but the risk does not require an emergency response include a tree which is:

a) Dead

b) Dying - few leaves in summer or dieback in the crown

c) Bark is loose and falling off

d) Mushrooms or fungi growing on or near the tree

e) Old splits and cracks in the trunk or large branches

f) Smaller branches falling from the tree

Bird fouling

we will not prune or fell a council tree to remove or reduce bird droppings from trees, or remove bird droppings from private land.

Customer Advice:

Bird droppings may be a nuisance, but the problem is not considered a sufficient reason to prune or remove a tree.  Nesting birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (and other related wildlife law) and warm soapy water will usually be sufficient to remove the bird droppings.

Subsidence to a building

The council has in place active tree management systems to avoid damage being caused to buildings and other structures as a result of the action of council owned trees. We rigorously defend claims to identify bogus or false claims.

a) Concerns about tree-related subsidence damage:

All concerns about tree-related subsidence damage involving a council owned tree will be acknowledged within 12 working days of receipt. In our response, we will advise that you should contact your insurance provider for advice. In addition, we will advise you that you should contact us again if you wish to make a formal claim for damages or to formally notify us of your concerns about future damage. We would then respond as detailed below:

b) Claims / notice of alleged tree-related subsidence damage:

All claims or notice of claims against the council relating to a council owned tree will be acknowledged within 12 working days of receipt. In our response, we will follow the Joint Mitigation Protocol (http://www.ltoa.org.uk/resources/joint-mitigation-protocol ) for dealing with alleged tree-related subsidence claims and the CAVAT (Capital Asset Value for Amenity Trees - http://www.ltoa.org.uk/resources/cavat) methodology for assigning a value to a tree.

If you believe that your property is suffering subsidence damage due to the action of trees in council ownership (or that you are concerned about potential damage) then we will respond by advising that you should contact your property insurer. You should discuss your concerns with your property insurer to agree an appropriate course of action.

Should you, or those acting on your behalf, wish to make a claim for damages, or make formal representation of your concern about future damage, alleging that a council owned tree is causing (or may cause) subsidence damage to your property, then you should contact the council.

Cannock Chase District Councils' Insurance Team will manage your claim/notice in accordance with the 'Joint Mitigation Protocol'. The Joint Mitigation Protocol details the management of alleged subsidence claims where trees are implicated as being the cause of building movement. The Joint Mitigation Protocol seeks to establish best practice in the processing and investigation of tree-induced building damage including agreed standards of evidence and working timescale. In response to your claim/notice we will write to you (or your representative) and detail the level of evidence required to process your claim.

Tree is close to a building or wall

If the trunk of a tree in council ownership is within 1m your property (dwelling house, boundary wall, garage etc.) we will take action to reduce or remove the nuisance.

Site inspection will be undertaken. Customers will be informed within 12 working days of receiptthat a site inspection is required and that such a site inspection will be undertaken within 12 weeks  of  receipt  and  the  customer  notified  of  what  action  is  considered appropriate.

In many cases the solution will be for the council to prune the tree, but in exceptional circumstances it may be more appropriate to fell the tree. If pruning is appropriate we will endeavour to undertake works to stop the problem re-occurring within three-years.

Tree roots in drains

we will not prune, fell or cut the roots of a council owned tree to prevent roots entering a drain that is already broken or damaged.

1. Tree roots typically invade drains that are already broken or damaged. Trees themselves very rarely break or damage the drain in the first place. Tree roots found in a drain are usually symptomatic of an underlying problem requiring repair of the broken pipe. If you are concerned about the condition of your drains then you are advised to contact your water and sewerage company.

Blossom and Leaf fall

We will not prune or fell a council owned tree to remove or reduce blossom from trees or remove fallen blossom from private land.

Customer Advice:

1 Tree blossom usually heralds the start of spring. Blossom is a natural occurrence, which cannot be avoided by pruning.

2 Leaf fall usually occurs at the start of autumn, leaves are a natural occurance, which cannot be avioded by pruning.

Fruit, Berries and Nuts

We will not prune or fell a council owned tree to remove or reduce the nuisance of fruit / berries or nuts, or remove such fallen fruit from private land. However,  where  fallen  fruit  is  leading  to  a  significant  anti-social  behaviour problems we will consider measures to reduce the problem including whether a phased removal and replacement with alternative species is reasonable.

Fruit trees such as apple, cherry and pear have the double benefit of spring blossom and autumn fruit. This makes fruit trees good for wildlife and a source of free food. But, there are some locations where fruit trees are less desirable, for example where soft fruit would make the pavement slippery or where anti-social behaviour could encourage fruit being thrown at houses or cars. When considering what tree to plant we take account of the likelihood of such problems. Equally, where fruit trees are established but there is a significant anti-social behaviour problem we may consider phased removal and replacement.

Light loss from trees/right to a view

We will not prune or fell a council owned tree to improve natural light in a property.

In law there is no general right to light. Any right to light would need to be established via  a  specific  grant  (rare)  or  by  prescription,  which  can  only occur where the right has been enjoyed uninterruptedly for a minimum of 20-years.  Following  this,  a  legal  right  to  light  can  only  be  enjoyed  in relation to a specific opening (such as a window) in a building; there is no right  to  light  in  connection  with  open  land,  such  as  a  garden.  Further,  if these conditions are met then an owner of the building is 'entitled to such access of light as will leave his premises adequately lit for all purposes for which they may reasonably expect to be used.

If natural light is being blocked by the growth of a hedge then action may be taken to reduce the problem under the High Hedges Act, Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act, 2003.  For further information refer to the council's planning web page on ‘High Hedges’.

Sap fall from a tree

We will not prune or fell a council owned tree to remove or reduce honeydew or other sticky residue from trees.

Honeydew is caused by greenfly (aphids) feeding on the tree, which excrete a sugary sap. Often the honeydew is colonised by a mould, which causes it to go black.

Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to remove the aphid which causes the problem and pruning the tree may only offer temporary relief and any re-growth is often more likely to be colonised by greenfly thereby potentially increasing the problem. Some trees, such as limes, are more prone to attack by greenfly and in some years greenfly are more common especially following a mild winter.  Honeydew is a natural and seasonal problem. Where new trees are planted we try to choose trees that are less likely to cause this problem. Where honeydew affects cars, warm soapy water will remove the substance, particularly if you wash the car as soon as possible.

Telephone cables

We will prune around a cable to give 0.5m clearance from the cable.  We will not fell a council owned tree to remove or reduce interference with telephone wires.

If after the pruning works have taken place, and interference is still occuring, then maybe your telephone service provider will be able to suggest an alternative solution to the problem.

Overhanging branches

We will not prune or fell a tree in council ownership to alleviate the nuisance of overhanging branches.

Overhanging branches is a natural occurance of trees and they do not have the ability to designate boundary lines.  Where a trees canopy does overhang the boundary, then these branches can be pruned back under your common law right.  We would request that inital communication must be made between the neighbour and the tree owner, as this can help to reduce future issues.  In most cases the Council will allow the pruning back of our trees branches, formal consent is not required.  We will not remove the branches for you and request that these can then be disposed of appropriatly in your green garden waste bin.  We would strongly recommend contacting Parks and Open spaces before arranging the works to ensure the trees are not protected by a Tree Preservation Order or within a Conservation Area.

Tall and Big trees

We will not prune or fell a council owned tree because it is considered to be 'too big' or 'too tall'.

A tree is not dangerous just because it may be considered too big for its surroundings. Other problems would need to be shown such as those described in the ‘Trees Believed to be Dangerous’ policy for the Council to consider it to be dangerous.

Tree blocking TV and Satellite reception

We will not prune or fell a council owned tree to prevent interference with TV / satellite reception.

It maybe that your satellite or TV provider will be able to suggest an alternative solution to the problem, for example relocating the aerial/dish or means to boost the signal.

Trees blocking light to Solar panels

We will not prune or fell a council owned tree to prevent interference with solar panels.

Although we understand the green benefits of solar panels on a roof, this can not be to the detriment of other green benefits such as the benefits that trees give to people or the wider community.


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