Trees, tree protection and hedges
Trees play a unique and important role in enhancing the quality of life in Redbridge and we try to protect existing trees and encourage new trees to be planted.
The Neighbourhood tree team are responsible for:
- trees growing on the streets and verges
- trees in parks, open spaces and on other council properties including schools
Please visit Council trees for further information.
Trees on private land
It is the responsibility of the landowner to maintain the trees on their land, including resolving any issues or damages the tree may cause.
We recommend seeking permission from the owner of the land before undertaking works to trees.
Some trees can also be protected and it is a criminal offence to undertake works to or remove these trees without receiving permission from the Council.
Tree surgeons and contractors
Approved tree works should be carried out by an adequately qualified and insured tree surgeon. If you allow unauthorised tree pruning or felling to take place, both you and your contractor could be prosecuted.
You will likely need permission to undertake works on or to remove a protected tree.
A guide to tree preservation procedures is available online.
Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)
TPOs protect tree(s) because they are significant or benefit the appearance of the area.
Please complete a contact form with the address and details of the tree, and we can confirm if it is protected by TPO.
All trees with a diameter over 75mm in conservation areas are automatically protected. Some trees in a conservation area may also have a TPO.
Protected by planning permission conditions
Trees can also be protected during construction works by condition following a grant of planning permission.
Carry out works to protected trees
Most works to a protected tree require a formal application to the Council . This can be submitted online and is free.
It remains the responsibility of the landowner to submit the required application and, if approved, carry out the works on-site. The role of the Planning Service is only to assess the proposed works (through the formal application).
If a protected tree needs immediate attention your tree surgeon must liaise with the Planning Service prior to works taking place. Photographic evidence of the tree in context, as well as written evidence from the tree surgeon, will be required to justify immediate action - this can be provided through a contact form.
Emergency works are applicable if a tree is dangerous, for example if it has split, or is resting on a property or vehicle. All maintenance or other works require a formal application. It is the responsibility of the landowner to maintain their trees to reduce the risk of them becoming dangerous.
If a TPO tree is removed through emergency works then there is a legal duty to replace it. This new tree will 'inherit' the TPO of the removed tree. Details of the replacement tree must be submitted in writing to the Planning Service - this can be provided through a contact form.
Carry out works to unprotected trees
Under Common Law you can cut back branches that overhang into your property but not to the point of destroying the tree.
You should always speak to your neighbour first and tell them you wish to trim the tree if it is not on your land; you must never trespass into your neighbour’s garden without consent.
If a tree is protected the above Common Law is removed and you will need permission from the Council before undertaking works to, or removing the tree.
Trees and subsidence
If a tree may be causing subsidence damage to your property, you must first contact your home insurance company. They will investigate the matter and collect any evidence of structural damage to support any potential claim.
If the investigation identifies a tree as a potential cause of the subsidence then you will need to check with the Planning Service if it is protected before undertaking any works to it.
High and nuisance hedges
You can tell us about a hedge or tree obstructing a pavement, road, streetlight or road sign.
If a dispute arises over a hedge it is the responsibility of the neighbours to resolve the dispute between themselves. A neighbour dispute about high hedges is dealt with under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act.