Council trees

Redbridge Council directly employs specialists to inspect over 40,000 council trees on a three-year rotation, recommending work to maintain them in a safe condition and within reasonable bounds.

For information related to the protection of private trees covered by a Tree Preservation order (TPO) or located within a Conservation area please see the council's planning page for further information.

 

Information on trees

You can report a fallen council tree or branch or a private tree or branch that has fallen onto the highway.

Report it

 

For further information about Council trees please see below information as this may contain the answer to your query, if the information provided does not address your enquiry please use the above "Report it" function.

 

The council has a programme of inspections to identify trees before they get too dangerous. When necessary, we carry out reactive inspections or emergency work. 

The following information is a guide to tree safety. If in doubt about whether a tree is safe or not, please report an issue with a council maintained tree.

Fallen trees and branches

We provide a 24-hour call out service to deal with broken tree branches and trees that have fallen onto the street or onto council property.  To report a fallen tree or branch, please report an issue with a council maintained tree.

If you or your neighbour’s tree has fallen over into a garden we would normally consider that this matter is for you or your neighbour to deal with. 

Leaning trees

Trees that have been leaning for more than three years would have been identified and safety work considered. The majority of leaning trees have been leaning for a long time and are considered to have an established lean, which is considered to be secure and the tree is too large to re-straighten. If a tree has started to lean very recently, work may be needed to straighten the tree, if it is still young, or to remove it if it is older as it may be considered to be dangerous.  In these cases, please report an issue with a council maintained tree.

Dead trees

As council trees are inspected so frequently, it is not normal for a tree to become immediately dangerous once it dies and our established work programmes will deal with tree removal work.

Trees moving in the ground

Trees will sway in the wind and this is natural and to be expected. What may be of concern is where a tree starts to move at the base where it meets the ground, causing cracking to the surface, and/or where a previously upright tree suddenly starts to lean. In cases where there is significant movement at a tree’s base, please report an issue with a council maintained tree.

Decaying trees, fungus and cracking

As council trees are inspected so frequently, we are normally aware of existing areas of decay and fungus. Our established inspection and work programmes will consider if work is necessary to maintain a tree in a safe condition. However, if a crack suddenly appears in a tree’s trunk or large limb, please report an issue with a council maintained tree.

Tall trees

A tree is not unsafe just because it is tall. It is unlikely that we would identify a tall tree as unsafe unless it is dead, moving at the base, or showing signs of significant decay or cracking.

 

Tree pruning works are considered as part of a three-year programme to maintain trees within reasonable bounds. The current street tree pruning programme is grouped into the wards shown below and further information about the street tree programme can be found in the work programme section on his page:

  • April 2024 to March 2025 - Aldborough, Barkingside, Chadwell, Fairlop, Fullwell, Goodmayes, Hainault, Mayfield, Bridge
  • April 2025 to March 2026 - Churchfields, Monkhams, South Woodford, Wanstead Park, Wanstead Village
  • April 2026 to March 2027 - Clayhall, Clementswood, Cranbrook, Ilford Town, Loxford, Newbury, Seven Kings, Valentines

Find out what ward your road is on

What are reasonable bounds?

There is a significant variety of species and sites in the borough and tree pruning works are considered on a case-by-case basis. We attempt to balance the needs of our neighbours with the council’s desire to maintain a healthy tree population with a large canopy cover. Pruning works are carried out to produce a well-structured, healthy tree and to reduce their influence on neighbouring properties.

Overhanging branches

We are not required to ensure that branches do not overhang the boundary with our neighbours; however, we do carry out work to reduce the size of overhanging branches, especially where they are near buildings.

Low branches

Low growth and branches are normally removed every year to remove obstructions to pedestrians, vehicles and to improve problems caused by shade.

Tall trees

Trees do not normally become dangerous just because they are tall and it is unlikely that the council will reduce the height of a tree just because of its height. The decision to reduce a tree is considered carefully and these works are normally taken to maintain a structural issue with a tree or to deal with a site-specific issue.

Blocking light

Restriction of light, views, and problems with shade are considered seasonal nuisances and legislation does not normally demand pruning because of these issues. Although it is not normal for us to prune trees to deal with light , other works carried out to deal with other issues can reduce shade.

Leaf and fruit fall

The fall of leaves fruit and other types of seed fall are considered seasonal nuisances and legislation does not normally demand pruning because of these issues. Although it is not normal for us to prune trees to deal with leaf and fruit fall issues, other works carried out to deal with other issues can reduce these issues. If there are significant problems associated with fruit fall on the footpath, then a report may be made on the council’s website page to report litter on the street.

Obstruction of road signs, streetlights and telephone wires

Work is carried out to clear branches from road signs, telephone wires and street lights.

Pollarded trees

Pollarding is a method of maintaining a potentially large tree in a reduced size. The frequency of work, to remove all new growth from a structural framework or branches, is normally carried out in the winter on a 2 to 6 year rotation and is dictated by the proximity to structures and defects within the tree's crown. 

The majority of pollarded trees should have all growth removed, on a three year rotation between December and March, and works should be carried out by ward: 

  • December 2024 to March 2025 - Aldborough, Barkingside, Chadwell, Fairlop, Fullwell, Goodmayes, Hainault, Mayfield, Bridge
  • December 2025 to March 2026 - Churchfields, Monkhams, South Woodford, Wanstead Park, Wanstead Village
  • December 2026 to March 2027 - Clayhall, Clementswood, Cranbrook, Ilford Town, Loxford, Newbury, Seven Kings, Valentines

Find out what ward your road is on

Some young trees were planted with the intention to create new pollards, to maintain the character of a pollarded tree lined road and in order to increase species diversity within the borough. The first reduction operation that creates the framework is carried out in the winter when the tree is relatively young. The tree will then produce new growth, that will be thinned out and then reduced again to eventually create the framework of branches that will form the new structural framework of branches.

 

Work Programme

There are over 21,000 trees on the streets that are inspected each year to note dead and dangerous trees for removal, to note work to maintain young trees and remove low tree growth causing obstructions to pedestrians and vehicles.

Every third year street trees are also inspected to consider pruning works to prune trees to maintain them within reasonable bounds. The current street tree pruning programme is grouped into the wards shown below and for further information about the type of pruning work considered during inspections is shown in the section above - "request to prune a tree":

  • April 2024 to March 2025 - Aldborough, Barkingside, Chadwell, Fairlop, Fullwell, Goodmayes, Hainault, Mayfield, Bridge
  • April 2025 to March 2026 - Churchfields, Monkhams, South Woodford, Wanstead Park, Wanstead Village
  • April 2026 to March 2027 - Clayhall, Clementswood, Cranbrook, Ilford Town, Loxford, Newbury, Seven Kings, Valentines

The list below shows the order in which wards should be inspected this year, when inspections should be carried out, which wards will be part of the 3 year pruning inspection and once inspected details of recommended work and the month work should be completed, which normally should be 6-10 weeks after inspection.

Find out what ward your road is on

Ward Inspect by Type Recommended work Work by
Bridge Completed Pruning Work PDF (144kb) July
Chadwell June Pruning    
Cranbrook Completed Yearly Work PDF (128kb) August
Fairlop June Pruning    
Valentines June Yearly    
Aldborough July Pruning    
Churchfields July Yearly    
Loxford July Yearly     
Mayfield July Pruning    
Clayhall August Yearly    
Goodmayes August Pruning    
Barkingside September Pruning    
Clementswood September Yearly    
Hainault September Pruning    
Ilford Town September Yearly    
South Woodford September Yearly    
Fullwell October Pruning    
Newbury October Yearly    
Monkhams October Yearly    
Seven Kings October Yearly    
Wanstead Park November Yearly    
Wanstead Village November Yearly    

 

We do not operate an on-demand tree removal service and the decision to remove a tree is made by the Council.

Dead and dying trees

Trees die or start to decline for a variety of reasons. The decision to remove these trees is made to reduce the risk of falling branches or the tree falling over. As council trees are inspected so frequently, it is not normal for a tree to become immediately dangerous once it dies, and our established work programmes will deal with tree removal work.

Decay and structural weakness

Disease and decay can rot the tree from the inside, causing the tree to become unstable. These rotten trees may still be in full leaf when they are removed, as leaves only need a narrow section of live wood under the bark to grow. If a crack suddenly appears in a tree’s trunk or large limb please report the issue with a council maintained tree.

Inappropriate positions

Trees can be self-sown, as their seeds may be dropped by birds or blown by the wind. On occasion, these trees may grow up in shrub beds, against fences and walls. To maintain the landscape or nearby structures in a good condition, it may be necessary to remove these self-sown trees.

Subsidence damage

If sufficient evidence has been provided as part of a subsidence claim, then removal work is considered, although, tree removal as part of a claim is relatively rare.

Possible future damage

Unless a tree is considered to be in an inappropriate position, self-sown, growing against fences and walls, it is unusual for us to remove trees to limit possible future damage. Tree-related damage is a complex risk that warrants careful consideration. Most damage is not inevitable and is not normally predictable within an acceptable margin of error. The council expends considerable resources in minimising the risk of damage through programmed inspections and works.

Footway crossings, carriage crossings and dropped kerbs

If you apply for a footway crossing, on the council's website page for footway crossings and dropped kerbs, the removal of a tree would be considered; however, the existence of the tree is considered sufficient grounds for the rejection of an application.   

Other reasons

We do not remove trees for the following reasons: TV signals, height, leaf or fruit fall, hayfever, blocking light, blocking views or causing shade, insects, honeydew, bird nests or roosts, squirrel activity or a tree’s odour.

 

There is a duty to consult, when removing some street trees, which was introduced through the Environmental Act 2021 that can be seen here on the Government's website. This is to ensure that the public have a chance to voice their opinions on proposed tree removal and this duty aims to make the decision-making process more transparent and considerate of local perspectives.

Exemptions

Certain trees are not included in the duty to consult and these exemptions are listed below:

  • Have a stem diameter not exceeding 8 centimetres measured at 1.3 meters above ground level.
  • Are dead.
  • Must be felled under any enactment because they pose a danger to people or property.
  • Must be felled under the Plant Health Act 1967 due to pest/disease issues, as ordered by statutory notices.
  • Must be felled to comply with obligations under the Equality Act 2010, unless engineering solutions suffice.
  • Must be felled for development authorised by specific sections of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, provided it's explicitly permitted in the planning permission.
  • Must be felled for development authorised by outline planning permission under section 92 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, provided it's explicitly permitted.
  • Are subject to other exemptions, such as emergency operational works by Statutory Undertakers.

Most street trees are removed due to the first three exemptions, as they are small, dead or dangerous. Most of these trees are identified for removal during our annual inspections and if a tree is removed without consultation the reason for removal should be found in the work recommendation document found in the Work Programme section of this website page.

Consultation process

To promote public awareness of the proposed tree removal:

  • Notices must be posted on the relevant street trees identified for removal.
  • Copies of notices will be available on this website page and made available at our office.
  • The consultation must last at least 28 days, starting from when the notice is posted on the street tree and on this website page.
    • If you would like to comment during the consultation, please make contact using our report it page
    • Should you not have access to the internet please contact us at the following postal address: Arboricultural and Horticultural team, The WREN Office, Ley Street Depot, 531 Ley Street, Ilford, Essex, IG2 7QZ
  • A notice providing the decision and responses to the consultation will be attached to the trees and posted on this website page, 28 days before any work is.
    • If you are not satisfied with the decision taken, please make contact using our report it page
    • Should you not have access to the internet please contact us at the following postal address: Arboricultural and Horticultural team, The WREN Office, Ley Street Depot, 531 Ley Street, Ilford, Essex, IG2 7QZ

The table below will show the location of trees where there is a duty to consult, it will include a copy of the consultation notice and then once available the decision notice, the status of the duty to consult process and the associated time scale for the consultation and decision periods.

Location Document Status Expiry Date
29 Fullwell Avenue, Fullwell Decision Notice (43 kb) Notice of removal 22 June 2024
18 Rokeby Gardens, Churchfields Decision Notice (43 kb) Notice of removal 22 June 2024
       
       
       
       
       
       

 

Street tree removal work is carried out in two stages, the first stage is to fell the tree to make the area safe and this leaves a 1 metre tall stump. The stump can be left for several months before it is removed as part of the planting programme that starts in the autumn and ends at the start of spring.

 

Tree planting is normally carried out during the planting season, which is when a tree's dormant between October and April each year..

Highway trees

We inspect highway trees during the summer and recorded necessary work to replace trees. The current target, which is budget-dependant, is to replace all dead and dangerous trees, the empty tree pits and locations containing stumps, between October and April each year.

Park trees

If you would like a park to be considered for additional tree planting or you would like to sponsor a tree, please contact Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure.

Schools and other council land

Redbridge obtains funds direct from schools, the Community Infrastructure Levy and through various grants to plant new and replacement trees in schools within the borough. 

 

As part of our community gardening initiative, residents are encouraged to apply in December to adopt street tree pits for planting wild flowers. Over 1,300 tree pits have been adopted across the borough.

Where we are planting replacement street trees, we will be attaching blue labels on them. We would like your help to adopt and water the tree outside your house without having to complete a tree pit adoption application.

To find out more about how to adopt and water a tree on the highway to help encourage tree growth and blossom in your area, please visit our adopt and water a tree page

 

The fall of fruit and other types of seed fall are considered seasonal nuisances and legislation does not normally demand pruning because of these issues. Although it is not normal for us to prune trees to deal with fruit fall issues, other works carried out during programmed works can reduce these issues. 

It is unlikely that a single tree would be pruned outside of the programme to deal with fruit fall as we cannot consider individual requests in isolation as we would have to reasonably accommodate all similar requests across Redbridge and this would not be a sustainable long-term approach to deal reactively with such seasonal nuisances.

The footpaths are normally swept on a two to three week rotation however if there is significant problems associated with fruit fall on the footpath, then a report may be made to report litter on the street.

 

Trees will host aphids that suck sap from a tree. These insects excrete a sugar and water substance known as honeydew.

The production of honeydew will vary each year and on each tree. We do not consider that there is an effective or a sustainable method of controlling aphids; the presence of aphids is considered to be a seasonal nuisance and their presence alone is not considered sufficient grounds to carry out reactive works or to remove a tree. Although it is not normal for us to prune trees to deal with honeydew issues, other works carried out to deal with other issues can reduce these issues.

 

The council's web page for footway crossings and dropped kerbs contains further information and the application form. 

If you apply for a footway crossing, the removal of a tree would be considered as part of the application process. However, the existence of the tree is considered sufficient grounds for the rejection of an application.

 

Proactive tree root removal from public footpaths, to reduce damage to adjacent private structures, is not considered a sustainable approach to manage this issue for several reasons including: The relatively low risk of significant structural damage, benefits that an urban tree provides, potential reduction of a tree’s stability and life expectancy, and the existing tree pruning programmes to maintain trees within reasonable bounds.

Where sufficient evidence is presented that a tree is the causing damage, the council can then identify the most appropriate method of tree management, and in cases of direct tree root damage to garden walls, driveways and footpaths, the most appropriate method is normally the removal of the section of root in contact with the damaged structure during your repair work and this rarely requires the removal of the whole tree. Once a damaged structure is repaired it is unusual for us to be notified of a re-occurrence of the same issue.

Tree related subsidence damage to houses is a complex risk that warrants careful consideration and the council  expends considerable resources in minimising the current and future risk of subsidence damage, which includes the regular maintenance programmes and the careful selection of species planted by the council.

If there is damage to a building that is believed to have been caused by subsidence, then the owner should contact their Insurance Company. Should a property owner not benefit from subsidence damage under their buildings policy or insurers confirm that an exclusion applies, please contact the council using this Report it form.  

Where there is damage to a vehicle, suspected to be caused by a tree, we would suggest that the owner check their vehicle insurance policy. Should a vehicle owner not benefit from policy coverage for damage or insurers confirm that an exclusion applies, please contact the council using this Report it form.

 

If there is damage to the footpath or kerb outside your house, please report the problem using the web page for paving and the council's highway department will investigate reports submitted.

When construction works are recommended, root removal should only be carried out if it is essential to make the footpath safe, as the removal of tree roots near a tree can reduce a trees stability and life expectancy.

 

You may report an issue with a private tree or shrubs obstructing the footpath or road using the council’sreport it page for overhanging vegetation.

 

Any tree may be protected by planning law (Town and Country Act 2008), so before any tree works commence, it is necessary to check with the council’s planning department to confirm a tree's status. 

There are a limited number of official options available that would deal with problems related to a neighbour’s tree, as there are very few restrictions to the size and shape a tree may attain, despite the problems that they may cause.

In the majority of neighbour tree issues, the best course of action is for the neighbours to talk to each other and attempt to resolve the issue amicably without external parties becoming directly involved. It may be necessary to ask on certain occasions for works to be carried out.

It may also be necessary to seek quotations on behalf of the owner, offer to contribute funds to pay for the work or find out why the owner is reluctant to carry out the work. Be aware that the owner may not see any issue with the trees, as they may not cause them the same problems as their neighbours.

High hedges

The Antisocial Behaviour Act 2003, Part 8 relates to high hedges. The council’s planning department deals with this issue on the planning department website.

Blocking light and height

Restriction of light, views, and problems with shade, fall of leaves, flowers and fruit are considered seasonal nuisances and legislation does not normally demand pruning because of these issues. This also applies to the height of a tree, insects, birds and mammals that may live in or feed from the tree.

Overhanging branches

A neighbour, under Common Law, may cut back branches overhanging their garden, but only back to the property line and the resident must offer the branches back (not throw them over the fence without notice). In our opinion, the cost of the pruning work and any disposal of branches would be at the neighbour's expense, not the owners. Additionally, unless the neighbour has permission from the tree owner, the tree may not be climbed or operatives may not encroach over the boundary line (even airspace.) Failure to do so may result in a criminal action.

Safety

Trees are not tidy and may appear to have unusual growth or may look ill when compared to other trees. These differences may just be due to the huge diversity of tree species or may actually indicate that the tree is in decline or stress. The owner has a duty of care to ensure that their property (including trees) does not pose a significant danger (falling branches, limbs trees) to neighbouring properties.

However, it is unlikely that the owner or the neighbour can always identify the difference between a dangerous and a safe tree and in some cases the owner should obtain a professional opinion. a professional opinion may be required. This does not mean the neighbour cannnot obtain a professional opinion as well.

Tree surgeons can give general advice. They will know more about trees than most of the public and should be able to identify some tree defects. However, it may be necessary to hire a Tree Consultant to carry out a detailed evaluation of tree health. For information relating to Tree Consultants, please follow this link to the Arboricultural Association.

Damage

The responsibility for damage caused by tree growth normally falls upon the person who owns the land where the tree is situated. If you are unable to agree on a course of action with your neighbours to contain or repair damage, and damage has occurred, you may wish to make a claim for these damages. Please check your own buildings insurance policy for coverage and see Citizens Advice website page on Small Claims.

We would advise that, before you reach the stage of going to the Small Claims Court, you write to your neighbour to clearly state your position, what action you have offered, will be prepared to offer and, if necessary, provide a quotation (two may be required) to carry out necessary work.  

 

The council has a contract for tree pruning and felling works with seven tree surgery companies.  In alphabetical order the seven companies are:

Company name: Becker Tree Contracts Ltd
Website: www.essex-tree-surgery.co.uk
Email: beckertrees@btinternet.com
Telephone: 0208 508 3832

Company name: CSG (Usher’s) Ltd
Website: www.csgushers.co.uk
Email: enquiries@csgushers.co.uk
Telephone: 01992 703 840

Company name: Essex Tree Care Ltd
Website: https://essextreecareltd.co.uk/
Email: info@essextreecareltd.co.uk
Telephone: 0208 787 5755

Company name: Forbes Treecare Ltd
Website: www.forbestreecare.com
Email: sean@forbestreecare.com
Telephone: 07921149118

Company name: Principal Trees Ltd
Website: www.principaltrees.co.uk
Email: info@principaltrees.co.uk
Telephone: 01279 841028

Company name: Ward Arboriculture Ltd
Website: ward-arb.business.site
Email: clare@ward-arb.com
Telephone: 01277 500050

Company name: Wychwood - Tree Surgeons
Website: www.Wychwood-Treesurgeons.co.uk
Email: Contactus@Wychwood-TreeSurgeons.co.uk
Telephone: 020 8528 2160

 

Please follow links showing council tree positions on these maps produced by the Greater London Authority and a second by the Mayor of London.