Trees and hedgerows FAQs
Is my tree protected?
Trees within conservation areas (with a diameter of more than 75mm measured at 1.5m from the ground) are also protected. You can check whether a tree is in a conservation area (and therefore protected) by viewing our Tree Preservation Order and conservation area map.
Occasionally trees can also be protected by a planning condition attached to a planning application for development. You can check whether this is the case by using the Council's planning application search facility or by emailing email@example.com.
Do I still have to put in an application for protected tree works even if I am only cutting back a small amount?
Yes. However, you can remove dead branches without consent.
Someone is cutting down a tree, is it protected and do they have permission?
If you suspect that someone is felling a protected tree you can report it to the Council using our Planning enforcement complaint form.
If there is a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) on my tree will the Council take responsibility for it or pay for maintenance works to the tree?
No. The responsibility for looking after the tree remains with the landowner as is the case for trees without a TPO. Owners of protected trees must not undertake, or cause or permit the carrying out of work on a protected tree without the written consent of the Council.
In certain circumstances, compensation may be payable by the Council for loss or damage which results from the Council refusing consent or granting consent with conditions. However, there are strict criteria and limitations on what compensation may be payable. Further details can be found in the GOV.UK guidance on compensating for the loss or damage to a protected tree.
Can the Council insist that owners of protected trees carry out regular maintenance on them?
No. The responsibility for looking after the tree remains with the landowner as is the case for trees without a TPO. The Council has no powers to insist that maintenance work be done to a tree just because it is protected.
Will the Council send out an arboriculturalist (tree specialist) to survey and give advice on my protected trees?
No. This is not a service the Council offers.
Will the Council help with removal of fallen protected trees on private land?
No. This is not a service the Council offers. If the tree has blown over please report this to the Strategic Planning Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include photos if possible.
My protected tree has blown over or is storm damaged or has become dangerous, what should I do?
If the tree has blown over please report this to the Strategic Planning Team by emailing email@example.com. Please include photos if possible.
If the tree is storm damaged or considered dangerous but otherwise standing, it is advisable to contact a tree specialist to advise on any remedial work. If the remedial work is urgent please inform the Council by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If the works need to be undertaken urgently due to imminent danger before the Council can be notified, it will be necessary to ensure you keep evidence of this (arboricultural report and photos) and notify the Council of the remedial works as soon as possible after the event. The onus of proof that a tree was dead or imminently dangerous rests with the tree owner. If the remedial work is not urgent please use the Application form for works to a protected tree to apply for consent for the works.
A tree is dangerous and I'm worried it's about to fall down or cause damage. Will the Council come and have a look at it?
If the tree is on land owned by the Council please contact Great Yarmouth Services Ltd and the tree will be inspected.
If the tree is on the highway (for example a grass verge between the pavement and the road) please contact Norfolk County Council.
If the tree is on private land (such as a neighbour's garden), the safety of the tree is the responsibility of the owner and they may be liable for any damage caused. If you are concerned about the safety of a tree on private land you should speak with the owner and explain your concerns. The Council does not have responsibility for trees which it does not own and has no obligation to take action in relation to privately-owned trees and is not liable for damage caused by trees in private ownership.
My neighbours tree has branches which overhang my property, can they be cut back?
There is no legal obligation for a tree owner to cut back growth from a neighbour's property. However, you have the right to cut back roots or branches that encroach onto your property back to the boundary. You must exercise reasonable care in carrying out work as failure to do so may lead to liability in negligence. It is advisable to speak with your neighbour before undertaking such works and to agree the method of disposal of the prunings which remain the property of the tree owner.
I am having problems with a tree in my neighbour's garden, overhanging branches/blocking light, what can I do?
Legally, a property owner has the right to allow a tree to grow within their property to whatever dimensions that tree is likely to achieve. The law does also acknowledge that this may cause a 'nuisance' to adjoining properties. In these instances there is a provision for adjoining properties to remove any overhanging vegetation back to their boundary line (usually determined by a fence line and upwards). The Council would always recommend making contact with the tree owner prior to carrying out any works. The works undertaken should not undermine the tree's stability or future health.
My neighbours tree is blocking my light/view, what can the Council do?
The Council has no powers to get involved in such disputes unless it is an evergreen hedge made up of two or more trees or shrubs and is over 2m in height. More information on high hedges can be found on our High hedges page.
What can I do if my neighbour's tree is damaging my property?
Your neighbour is responsible for maintaining their trees and hedges so they do not damage your property. If they do damage your property, for example if roots or branches cause damage to a wall, your neighbour may be liable. You should seek professional legal advice on this.
These issues are civil matters and therefore not something that can be resolved or enforced by the Council.
Can I cut back trees situated on the highway at the front of my property?
It is advisable to contact the local highways authority before undertaking any works on highway trees.