From Cornwall Council:
With the arrival of the wet and windy season, residents and landowners are being advised to check on their trees to make sure they don’t pose a hazard to others.
Owners have a legal responsibility to make sure trees which border public areas – such as roads and schools – are in a safe condition. And while they play an important role in our environment, trees that pose a threat to public safety due to their poor condition will require work to ensure they are safe.
It is essential that trees growing adjacent to the highway are inspected regularly, explained Matthew Odgers-Brown, Cornwall Council’s Tree Safety Officer.
“Dead trees, broken hanging branches and trees affected by decay fungi represent a potentially serious hazard to motorists and other road users ” he said.
“If you haven’t already done so, now is a particularly good time to carry out any necessary work. It is outside the nesting period and, with trees having shed their leaves, it is easier to see deadwood and any decay when inspecting.”
The Council has powers under the Highway Act to ensure tree owners make their trees safe in cases where they are a threat to the highway, explained Councillor Sue James, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for environment and public protection.
“While we do have the option of legal action, we would much rather landowners took preventative measures and avoid a potentially serious incident,” she said.
Advice for tree owners:
- The National Tree Safety Group has provided national guidance for land owners regarding the management of trees and tree risk.
- Seek expert advice if you have safety concerns. The Arboricultural Association has a list of approved contractors and consultants.
- If your tree needs to be felled, the Forestry Commission can advise if you need a licence. Call 0300 067 4960 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- There are some restrictions when working with trees protected by Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) or growing within conservation areas. Read more about TPOs and conservation areas on the Council’s website and use our online map to find out if your tree is affected.
- It is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to knowingly disturb nesting birds or certain protected species including bats. Advice is available from Cornwall Wildlife Trust.
- It is likely that contractors working on trees next to the highway will require a Licence to work within the highway limits, visit the Council’s website for more information