Frequently Asked Questions - Trees
There is a tree adjacent to my property on land not owned by Wrexham County Borough Council. How may I find out who owns the tree or the land ?
The council does not investigate land ownership. Please contact the Land Registry who will provide guidance on the costs and procedures required.
How can I find out if a tree is protected by either a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or located within a designated Conservation Area ?
You can find out if you live in a Conservation Area by visiting our Conservation pages where you can view maps showing the boundary of each tree. Should you wish to undertake any tree work within a Conservation Area then further advice can be obtained from Trees: Protection & Applying for Work.
A neighbouring tree overhangs or encroaches my property and is creating a nuisance, what are my rights?
Under established Common Law you may prune unprotected trees and hedges overhanging your boundary. You do not need the owner’s permission but you must not trespass onto his/her land to do so. You must offer to return all removed arisings but be advised that the owner is under no obligation to accept. Should this be the case then you should dispose of the arisings in a responsible manner. You always have a ‘duty of care’ and may be held liable for criminal damage if any work you do – or ask others to do on your behalf – causes the tree to die or become dangerous.
If the tree is subject to a Tree Preservation Order or located within a designated Conservation Area you will need to make a formal application to the council before carrying out any work. If in doubt, please contact us.
For living entities such as trees there is no prescriptive ‘right to light’ so there is no requirement for the tree owner to manage their trees even should you request so, unless you bring the issue forward and win a civil action in the Courts. You should consult a solicitor to see if you have grounds to proceed with this. The council do not enforce and general restrictions over the height of individual trees and will not arbitrate between you and your neighbour. The council will resist involvement in any such civil matters.
Legally there is no ‘right to a view’. Speak with your neighbour, explain your concerns and try to resolve the matter in an amicable fashion. The council will resist involvement in any such civil matters.
If the hedge concerned is classed as ‘evergreen’, over 2.0m in height, provides a barrier to light or access and you have tried and failed to resolve the matter with your neighbour then you may be able to make a complaint and request the council to consider acting as arbitrator.
Please be advised the definition of ‘dangerous’ is ambiguous and that a tree is not necessarily dangerous because it is either ‘too tall’, or ‘leaning’ or ‘sways in the wind’. If you are the owner of the tree be advised that you have a legal ‘duty of care’ and if you have serious concerns or note a particular defect such as a split, a cavity or large dead branches etc then you should therefore seek the advice of a tree consultant or contractor.
If the tree belongs to your neighbour, again seek professional advice and be sure of the facts before communicating with your neighbour. Should your neighbour then fail to act then they may be held liable by the courts if damage occurs as a result of their negligence to act.
Should you still require any further advice then please Contact Us.
Depending on the type or extent of damage noted you may need to seek the services of a qualified structural engineer, a drainage expert or a tree consultant. If they confirm your suspicions you may then need to notify your building insurer who, if necessary, may undertake further investigations and / or liaise with the insurers of the tree owner if the tree responsible is located outside of your boundary.
You should seek the advice of a tree contractor or consultant who will be able to inspect the trees and provide you with written details and recommendations regarding the trees, their influences and their immediate or future management. As a landowner you will have a duty of care to ensure that all foreseeable steps are taken to ensure that persons and property are safe, with this in mind you are advised to have your trees inspected on a regular, cyclical basis.
I have seen a problem with a tree on council land (or next to the public highway), who should I contact?
Wrexham County Borough Council has adopted a Tree Risk Assessment Policy to ensure that we meet our duty of care and that as far as is reasonably practicable, all of the trees on our land and highways are kept in an acceptable condition and do not put persons and property at unreasonable risk.
If you are still concerned about a tree on council land please Contact Us.
Ivy is not parasitic and does not kill trees. One issue to consider with established ivy is its gradual contribution in increasing the density of canopy the tree presents to oncoming wind. This increased ‘sail area’ provides greater resistance to wind and may increase the risk of potential storm damage in extreme circumstances. Ivy may also obscure the trunk or branch structure which can restrict a full visual assessment of the tree from being undertaken when necessary.
Ivy is important ecologically; it provides valuable habitat for birds, bats and invertebrates, it flowers late in the year as a late food-source and the fruit develops in the winter ripening early in the spring when other food sources may not yet be available.
Ivy may need controlling on a cyclical basis to ensure that both the above influential and ecologically issues are addressed in a balanced ecological and risk-assessed approach.
Yes, anyone can plant any tree of any size anywhere on their land they choose however, they should be advised that as the owner they may be responsible or liable for any foreseeable nuisances or damages which may occur in the future as a result of the on-going development and increasing influences of any such planting.
Undertaking tree surgery is a highly skilled, specialised job requiring knowledge, extensive training and experience. Competent arborists will have certificates which show they are trained and qualified; they will also have access to safety equipment in order to protect you, your property and themselves.