Responsibility for trees
Trees are the responsibility of the owner of the land on which they grow. We do not have the powers to ensure that people carry out regular tree maintenance.We advise tree owners to have trees inspected at regular intervals by a competent person, and also after major storms if you have any concerns.The Council does not offer an on-site assessment of whether trees are dangerous, therefore if you own a tree that you consider dangerous, please contact a competent tree specialist to give you advice as soon as possible.
The maintenance of trees is the responsibility of the land owner. We cannot ensure that owners of trees carry out regular maintenance.
- Whilst landowners have a responsibility to ensure that their trees do not present an unreasonable risk to neighbours, they do not have an obligation to cut back overhanging branches, and so there is a common law right for a neighbour to cut back branches as far as the boundary, subject to getting any relevant permission if the tree is protected.
- By law you should offer to return the pruning’s to the tree owner. We also advise you let the owner of the tree know before you begin any work as they may wish to make alternative arrangements with you.
- If you are considering cutting back overhanging branches or tree roots on your land we advise you to get the opinion of a qualified tree specialist first, as you may cause the tree to become unstable or die.
Damage to property
- If you think a tree is causing damage to your property then you should contact your property insurer or seek legal advice. The Citizens Advice Bureau may also be able to help.
- If you are concerned about light loss from neighbouring trees, and the trees concerned are a row of two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees, then this may constitute a High Hedge issue.
- Make a High Hedge complaint here
If you think that a tree on neighbouring property is dangerous, then you should contact the owner of the property in the first instance and let them know of your concerns. Landowners are responsible for ensuring their trees do not pose an unreasonable risk.Land ownership details are held by the Land Registry. We do not hold land ownership details.
Trees that border the footpaths and roads
- Trees that border the roads or pavements are usually maintained by Kent County Council’s Highways department
- Trees that border a public right of way are maintained by Kent County Council’s Rights of Way team.
- Check if a tree has a TPO on it.
If you wish to make a planning application and trees on or adjacent to the site may be affected then you should provide a tree survey with your planning application, carried out to the guidance in the current edition of BS:5837 – Trees in Relation to Demolition, Design and Construction.
If you are concerned that works are taking place on a development site and that trees are being damaged or removed contrary to any applicable TPOs or Planning Conditions in force please report a planning breach, including information about the specific location of the tree(s) affected on the site.
Trees alongside railway lines
Trees that border railways and stations including their car parks are usually the responsibility of Network Rail.
Trees on Housing Association Land
Trees that are on land owned by a housing association are maintained by the housing association which owns the land. Find out who owns a treeTrees that are on privately owned land should be maintained by the land owner. To find out who owns a piece of land you should contact the Land Registry.