Trees owned by the council
Our team of specialist officers (arboriculturalists) carry out inspections and co-ordinate subsequent works for many of the council-owned trees in Bracknell Forest. The priority is to protect the public and help keep these trees in a healthy and safe condition whilst making sure that they do not cause a legal nuisance such as obstructing footpaths or damaging buildings.
Privately owned trees
Under the Town and Country Planning Acts, we are required to consider protecting trees which may be at risk from development. We also have a duty to identify and protect trees of significant visual amenity and heritage value. Our Tree Team provides advice to the Planning Authority on the protection and management of these trees.
Tree owners have a duty of care to manage their trees appropriately, so that any person that might be affected by the tree does not suffer any unreasonable harm or loss. We have certain discretionary powers in respect of dangerous trees as set out within the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.
Where we receive a request about making a tree safe on private property, we may, if we consider that the tree is likely to cause imminent harm or damage, serve notice on the owner or occupier of the land on which the tree is situated. This notice will require them to take specified steps to make the tree safe. Before doing this we would, however, normally expect the respective owner/occupier to try and resolve the matter by agreement.
Our report a tree issue form can be used to report issues with trees/branches that are causing or are about to cause damage to property, or that pose a danger to people. We will determine if a site investigation is appropriate and whether the circumstances justify the exercise of these powers. Where it is evident that there may be an imminent danger, a tree officer will visit the site to assess the condition of the tree.
As a general rule, we will only exercise these powers if there is an imminent danger to persons or property. Trees that are merely causing annoyance, or where the risk of harm or damage is low, fall outside the scope of the Act and remain a private issue.
If a landowner is required to make a dangerous tree safe, but fails to carry out the necessary work, we may arrange for the work to be undertaken and recover reasonable costs.
How do I find out the ownership of trees that concern me or my property?
The council does not keep records of land in private ownership. For a small charge you can carry out a Land Registry Search. This will tell you to whom the land is registered (if it has a registered owner).
How do I find out if there are planning conditions affecting my property?
Sometimes the Planning Authority will attach certain requirements to a planning permission. These are referred to as ‘planning conditions’. These conditions might relate to the trees or other significant vegetation on your property and could require you to maintain them, or even to replace them in the event they die or are removed.
To find out if there are any planning conditions affecting your property, please use our enquiry form.
Where can I go for advice?
For basic advice on tree maintenance and quotations for work, we recommend you contact a suitably qualified tree surgeon or arboricultural consultant. You should also read our advice about hiring a tree surgeon.
The Arboricultural Association operates an Approved Contractor scheme. An extensive list of contractors and consultants who can assist you with more complex tree matters and involved investigations is on the Arboricultural Association website.