How to request for work to council-owned trees

A single red leaf fallen from a tree

We receive many requests to prune or fell council-owned trees. 

We won't normally prune or fell a healthy and well-formed tree for the following reasons:

  • tree size or height, unless considered necessary for safety reasons
  • loss of light or too much shade to adjacent properties
  • blocking views
  • shedding of twigs, leaves, seeds, fruit, nuts, cones or flowers
  • interference with satellite or television aerial signals
  • fall of honeydew, which is sometimes incorrectly referred to as sap
  • fall of bird droppings onto buildings, vehicles or footways
  • branches causing interference with overhead telephone wires, to have this looked at please contact the service supplier
  • alleged root damage to property
  • reduced security to property by virtue of concealment

What we do and when

Brighton & Hove has an estimated collection of 12,000 street trees. These trees fall under our statutory works and are safety inspected on a rota basis every 2 and 4 years. 

On the second year they receive interim works (5.2m crown lift) and on the fourth year receive composite pruning (30% crown reduction,20% crown thinning and 5.2m crown lift). 

Our in-house arborists or contractors visibly inspect the tree for nesting birds and bats before starting pruning operations. Also when ascending through the canopy, holes, cracks and fissures are inspected and if any activity is suspected, boroscopes are used to confirm nesting or roosts.

A large majority of our street trees are Ulmus species and can only receive works between the end of September through to the end of May. This is due to fresh wounds releasing pheromones which attract the Elm bark beetle that carries Elm disease.

Due to the amount of trees and weather conditions we have to prune right up to the end of May to ensure our statutory works are completed. 

About tree roots

It is very unusual for tree roots to physically break underground drains and pipework. However tree roots will grow where conditions are favourable. 

An old pipe which is cracked and/or has poor joints leaking water into the surrounding soil will attract tree roots which are growing nearby. These may then exploit the weakness and enter the pipe, causing a blockage or further damage to the pipework. Often when repairs are required the nearest tree is blamed.

The removal of trees in these instances is rarely required as replacement or repair of faulty drains and pipes with modern materials will usually eliminate the leak and prevent the problem recurring.

About high hedges

High hedges

If you are you having problems with a neighbour's hedge,the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 gives powers to deal with complaints about high hedges to district councils and unitary authorities.

This means that provided they have attempted and exhausted all means to resolve the hedge dispute, potential complainants will be able to take their case to the local authority.

At this point, the council will only adjudicate on whether the hedge is adversely affecting the complainant's reasonable enjoyment of the property.

In doing so, the local authority must take account of all relevant factors and must seek a balanced assessment of the concerns of both parties and the interests of the wider community.

The following leaflets are available from the Communities and Local Government website:

If you have read the leaflet and would like to submit a complaint about a high hedge, please download a form and guidance notes or contact the Arboriculture Service on 01273 29 29 29 for the form and guidance notes to be sent to you.

Arboricultural Information Notes

The Arboricultural Information Notes give general information on a number of tree-related issues, from maintenance to an appreciation of associated wildlife. They are not specialist papers.

We hope the information will encourage you to research further into subjects that prove of interest by using books, the internet and practical visits to parks, woodland and the wider countryside.

Periodically, this series of information notes will be added to.  Any suggestions for subjects you would like included would be welcomed for consideration.

Subjects covered to date are:

  1. Tree Planting (PDF 98KB)
  2. Trees in Small Gardens (PDF 115KB)
  3. Bats and Trees (PDF 135KB)
  4. Tree Work - Choosing Your Arborist (PDF 111KB)
  5. Tree Roots and Structures (PDF 90KB)
  6. Mulching your Borders with Woodchips (PDF 94KB)
  7. Tree Pruning (PDF 95KB)
  8. Horse Chestnut Scale (Pulvinaria regalis) (PDF 87KB)
  9. Fireblight of ornamental trees and shrubs (PDF 100KB)
  10. Winter Moth (PDF 137KB)
  11. Peach Leaf Curl (PDF 89KB)
  12. Cold Damage (PDF 89KB)
  13. Damage by Grey Squirrels (PDF 162KB)
  14. Tar Spot Fungus (PDF 202KB)