Overhanging vegetation

Reporting overhanging vegetation

We receive many complaints particularly during the growing season about trees, hedges and shrubs overhanging public roads and footways. Such growth can present unnecessary risk to pedestrians and sometimes to road users.

When the problem is caused by vegetation on land owned by Bracknell Forest Council it’s a relatively easy matter for us to address. Where this is not the case then it can be more complex and takes more time to sort out.


Whilst we welcome all such reports using our online form we have to prioritise our resources. As a general rule of thumb, unless the vegetation obstructs the footpath across the entire width by at least 10 per cent, the report will be given little priority and may not get addressed for some months depending upon the time of the year.

In addition during the summer, unless photographs accompany the report and clearly show the extent of the obstruction and location, such reports are also likely to be given low priority and again may not be actioned for some time.

What the council can do

From a legal perspective the landowner is likely to be liable for any obstruction. The council can and will, where circumstances warrant it, require the owner to cut back their overgrowing vegetation. Should they fail to do this we have powers to cut it back and recover our costs.

Wherever possible we would encourage residents to sort out local problems for themselves. If our contractors are tasked to cut back to the edge of the highway, they will do just this. The result potentially could be the loss of the shrub, or if not, a visually less acceptable finish than might otherwise have been the case, at least until the shrub has recovered.

Response times

Land not belonging to Bracknell Forest Council

All reports are considered and prioritised. The more detail we have the more likely there will be an early response (see above). During the growing season the number of reports is such that it can be several weeks before a property is visited. Once visited, if action is warranted, 28 days is allowed for the owner to rectify the problem. Should this not happen, the council may serve a Formal Notice on the resident under Section 154 of the Highways Act (1980). If the council still hasn't received a response, the contractor can be instructed and will normally schedule the work within 28 days.

Bracknell Forest Council land

Where action is warranted on Bracknell Forest Council owned land, it will be passed to our contractors to address within 28 days of notification.

You can report overhanging vegetation by using our online form.

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