Tree works management
We are responsible for maintaining trees that are on council land. We will only take action against a private landowner in extreme cases, such as when there is a serious risk to public safety.
Contact the Clean and Green team to report a problem with a tree.
If you are claiming for tree related damage you'll need to include information from our tree related damage checklist below, and email us.
Tree works management policies
We use our policies as guidelines to decide what action, if any, we need to take when you ask us to fell or prune a tree.
We are also guided by the council’s wider strategies and local management plans.
Where there is a clear and foreseeable threat to the personal safety of residents or visitors, or to property, that is directly related to the condition of a tree, we will take action to control that risk.
If the risk is an indirect consequence of a tree (for example, slippery leaves on the pavement in autumn) we will only prune the tree in exceptional circumstances and if there is no other option available.
Unfounded or perceived fear of a tree or trees will not normally result in action to prune the tree.
Trees on council land
We will make sure that we maintain adequate clearance of the highway for the type of traffic using that highway.
If you want to report low branches over the highway, you can contact the clean and green team. We will act on any problems as soon as possible
Trees on private land
If you want to report a tree that is on private land but is obstructing the highway, you can contact the community protection team. It is the landowner's responsibility to cut the tree back, and we can serve notice on the landowner requiring them to do so. If they don't, we have the right to cut the tree back and recharge the cost.
Trees on council land
We will make sure that trees that we manage do not obscure road signs or prevent street lamps from lighting the highway.
The purpose of street lamps is to illuminate the public highway. If there is adequate lighting of the highway, we will not normally take action to improve the levels of lighting of private property.
You can contact the clean and green team if you notice any problems, and we will act as soon as possible.
Trees on private land
If you want to report a tree that is on private land but is obstructing street lighting, you can contact the community protection team. It is the landowner's responsibility to cut the tree back, and we can serve notice on the landowner requiring them to do so. If they don't, we have the right to cut the tree back and recharge the cost.
We will normally only consider action where:
- the separation between the tree and the window of the nearest habitable room is less than 6m for trees with a height of over 12m, or less than half the height of the tree for smaller trees
- the separation between the edge of the canopy and a vertical line through that window is less than 2m.
A ‘habitable room’ means a dining room, lounge, kitchen, study or bedroom. WCs, bathrooms, utility rooms, landings and hallways are excluded.
Where a situation falls within these guidelines, we will prioritise cases according to proximity. We will also take the orientation of the affected window into account.
The results of any consultation exercise may modify decisions if it appears that any work would, by and large, be unpopular with the rest of the community.
There is no right to good reception, and in many cases it is possible to resolve issues of poor reception involving trees by finding an engineering solution.
We will only consider requests to prune trees to improve reception where all the following conditions are true:
- you have made an efforts to find an engineering solution to the problem and have not been successful
- the work required is consistent with good arboricultural practice and will not unduly affect the amenity or health of the tree
- the work required can be executed within current financial constraints (see 'financial constraints' tab below)
Leaves, seeds and fruit
Leaves and seeds are carried freely on the wind and are largely outside the control of Walsall Council.
Clearing of leaves from gutters and pathways and weeding of set seeds are considered to be normal routine seasonal maintenance which property owners are expected to carry out.
We will not normally undertake pruning to reduce the fall of leaves, seeds or fruit.
As with leaves, honeydew is not controllable by pruning. Affected surfaces can be cleaned as part of routine maintenance.
We will not normally consider pruning alone as a way of solving problems with honeydew.
As with leaves and honeydew, the actions of a tree's associated wildlife, such as birds, squirrels and insects is considered to be beyond the reasonable control of the council.
We will not normally consider pruning or other works to control any nuisance caused by wildlife.
Tree-related subsidence damage is a complex issue. We will consider each case individually.
We will need adequate assessment and monitoring to demonstrate that the tree is involved in causing damage. This evidence should be submitted in support of any request for action.
We will not consider requests for action based on an unquantified possibility of damage occurring at an unspecified point in the future, unless there are other overriding reasons to take action.
As with subsidence, we will consider cases of direct root damage on an individual basis.
We aim to strike a balance between the nuisance experienced by individuals and the benefits offered by the tree to the wider community.
Trees do not have the capacity to break into a sound drain, but they will exploit any existing fault. The removal of one tree will not prevent other vegetation from exploiting the same opportunity.
We aim to make sure that drains are watertight in order to prevent problems. As a result, we will not normally take action in response to complaints that council-managed trees are blocking drains.
We use our resources holistically, in keeping with management policies. In some cases, work cannot be justified on the grounds of priority.
We understand that, in many cases, the problems of nuisance are of a real concern to you. In such cases, we will permit certain works to be undertaken at your expense, using approved contractors.
For enquiries and further information, contact the clean and green team.
You can also download a tree work permit application form, which also has more information about the scheme.
tree work permit application form
Tree work permit application formDownload PDF (343.37 KB)