Our responsibility for trees in Newham
We are responsible for all the trees in Newham which are on land owned by us or on public roads. This includes trees on highways, footpaths, verges, and trees in parks and on council estates.
When trees and bushes grow over garden boundaries, they can block pavements or drivers' views. Blocking a public road or footpath is against the law, and we may take action against the owner of a tree which overhangs.
What happens next?
We will visit the site and contact the person who owns the property. We will then send the owner a notice, telling him or her to cut it back within 14 days. After 14 days we will visit the site again. If the problem still exists, we may prosecute.
Trees and shrubs hanging over private property
Trees and boundaries
If you own your property you can plant a tree anywhere on that property. There is no limit to the size of the tree you can grow, but you should think about how big the tree might grow. If the branches or roots of your tree hang over or reach into another property, the owner of that property may remove the parts which hang over.
Your neighbours can do this without telling you, unless the tree:
- has a tree preservation order (TPO)
- grows in a conservation area.
If you live in a conservation area or you have a tree with a TPO you need our permission to work on the tree. Find out more on our Tree preservation
If you have trees or shrubs and they cause a nuisance, you are responsible for it. If you know a tree is damaged, and you don’t do anything about it, you may be negligent if something happens and damage is caused. You could be negligent even if someone is on your land without permission and suffers an injury or their property is damaged.
Right to light and a view
There is no right to light set out in law; nor is there is there a right to a view.
What is a dangerous tree?
A dangerous tree is one which, because of its poor condition, is an immediate danger to people or property.
Report a dangerous tree
If you think that a tree is dangerous, you can report it by email or, if there is an emergency, (we deal with these immediately) phone our Enforcement and Safety Team on 020 8430 2000 and tell us:
- where the tree is (including a house number or private garden, park, council property).
- what the problem is, for example a tree needs pruning or removing.
What happens next?
When we get your request, we will also pass it on to a tree officer. The officer will inspect the tree as soon as possible to decide whether or not the tree is dangerous. If the officer thinks that the tree needs work, we will tell the owner of the tree to do that work to make the tree safe. The officer will give a time within which the work should be done. If it is not done, we will send the owner a legal notice to order him or her to do the work.
Trees and the law: useful websites