Frequently asked questions
How can I find out if trees I own are protected?
How do I find out who owns a tree causing me concern?
The Land Registry holds land ownership details and makes a charge for providing information. We do not hold land ownership records.
What should I do if a tree is blocking a road?
You should call the Surrey Highways Contact Centre on 0300 200 1003 if the condition of a tree in the highway or potentially affecting a highway is cause for concern and needs immediate attention.
How do I report a concern about a tree at the roadside?
Surrey County Council is responsible for trees on highway land including public roads and pathways, pavements and verges beside them. You should report a problem to Surrey County Council online or in an emergency call the Surrey Highways Contact Centre on 0300 200 1003.
If the trees are on private roads they are the responsibility of the property owner(s).
I am worried that my neighbour’s tree is dangerous. What should I do?
Consult a qualified arboriculturist (a tree expert), ideally one approved by the Arboricultural Association for advice if you think a neighbour’s tree might be dangerous. If the advice is that the tree poses an immediate danger try to resolve the matter by talking to your neighbour first. In the event that it does not prove possible to resolve the issue, the council maybe able to intervene if you formally ask us to. More details are available within our Tree Management Procedures
Which? also produces a useful leaflet about The law on trees.
How do I report a problem with a tree on council land?
Tandridge is responsible for trees in its parks and open spaces, housing sites and on other Council land. The way in which the council's trees are to be managed and the council's position in respect of frequently cited tree related concerns, are set out in our Tree Management Procedures
If you have any concerns or enquiries about a tree on Council land, please contact us by filling in our online form; please give as much detail as possible. Tree reporting form
Alternatively, you can e-mail Customer Services or call 01883 722000. If the tree is on Council housing property please contact your Housing Officer.
I want to carry out work to trees on my property. Do I need permission?
You will need consent from us for works if:
- The trees are protected by a Tree Preservation Order.
- You are within a Conservation Area.
- The trees are protected by a condition attached to a planning permission.
There is a tree outside my boundary, not under my control – whose responsibility is it?
The owner of the land is legally responsible for trees growing on their land. If the tree is on council-owned or managed land please contact Customer Services or call 01883 722000.
Branches or roots from my neighbour’s tree are growing over my boundary. What can I do?
We recommend you consult a qualified arboriculturist (a tree expert), ideally one approved by the Arboricultural Association and check with us that the trees are not protected, before starting any work. Under common law you may be able to prune branches and roots growing over your boundary, but must take ‘reasonable care’ as you may become liable if you damage the tree or cause it to become unstable.
When is the best time of year to carry out tree works?
If you can, avoid carrying out tree works in the spring when the sap is rising and in the autumn, when the tree is drawing nutrients back into itself. Work carried out in the spring can make trees vulnerable to attacks from pest and disease. Work carried out in the autumn may prevent the tree getting all the nutrients needed for the next spring, again increasing the likelihood of disease.
There are other things to consider when carrying out tree works.
- Nesting birds are protected by law. Check carefully to see if there are any nests present. If there are, postpone work until the nests have been vacated. The nesting season usually lasts form march to September.
- Bats roost in trees and are protected by law. You should take great care to make sure they are not disturbed or harmed.
Should ivy be removed from trees?
Ivy does not have to be regularly removed as research has shown it is not an instant threat to trees. In some circumstances it needs to be cleared, for example, so that a detailed inspection of a tree’s condition can be carried out or to keep a tree’s appearance tidy.
In fact ivy can provide wildlife benefits, as it is an attractive habitat for insects and invertebrates, which are food sources for, and so attract, bird and animals. Bats also regularly roost in ivy, as well as in small cavities in suitable trees.
My neighbour’s hedge is too high. What can I do?
Our High hedges page explains how to go about resolving this sort of matter yourself. We can take action when the height of an evergreen hedge affects your reasonable enjoyment of your property, but only as a last resort. You will need to show us that you have taken all reasonable steps including mediation, to resolve matters yourself.
What should I do if I think there are bats roosting in the trees?
All British bats are protected by law. Many bats roost in trees so you should always ask your tree surgeon to check a tree for them and for bat roosts before any work starts. If they are thought to be present before or during work, contact Natural England immediately and follow the advice it gives. If you discover bats or their roosts only after work has started, you must stop the work until Natural England has given advice. You should follow their instruction to make sure you work within the law and minimise the risk of bats being killed or injured.
More information on bats is available from the Bat Conservation Trust.