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Why have a tree policy

Monmouthshire County Council values the county wide tree cover and recognises the immense potential for human and environmental benefits associated with a healthy and sustainable tree population. The value that trees contribute is also recognised at a national level and is supported through the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Environment (Wales) Act 2016.

General principles

Monmouthshire County Council is committed to encouraging biodiversity. Due to this, only essential management work will be done to the local authority tree stock. The council consider the following as reasons for essential management of trees:

  • To manage risk to people and property
  • Where trees are seen to be damaging built infrastructure
  • Where trees are reducing the safe access and egress of a public right of way

As trees are living organisms, it is recognised that trees can develop defects or health issues that may lead to failure that poses a risk to people and property in close proximity. Monmouthshire County Council recognise this potential risk and their responsibility to assess trees for safety and may from time to time carry out maintenance work to manage risk. Where tree management work is necessary, this is completed in the most sympathetic manner to maintain the health of the tree and its contribution as a natural asset, while ensuring that individual trees do not pose a physical risk to people or property.

Assessing tree safety

The risk posed by trees in general is low, with only around one death in 10 million people per year in the UK caused by falling or fallen trees. To ensure this risk remains low, and to meet their duties as a responsible landowner and local authority, Monmouthshire County Council carry out tree safety inspections. The tree safety assessment method employed by the county council is the nationally recognised Quantified Tree Risk Assessment (QTRA). Information about QTRA can be found at

Monmouthshire County Council staff carry out small-scale tree works. Where larger or more specialist work is required, contractors may be employed to carry out the work on the council’s behalf. Where capacity is limited, the county council may also employ specialist arboricultural contractors to carry out tree safety inspections. Where contractors are used for safety assessments or tree works, they must meet the council’s procurement policies relating to qualifications and competencies, health and safety systems and insurance.

If a report is received identifying a dangerous tree, the county council will first establish on whose land the tree is growing. Monmouthshire County Council can only confirm if the council owns the land or if a Tree Preservation Order has been made on a privately-owned tree; beyond this, the county council cannot advise on trees in private ownership. Where the tree is the responsibility of the county council, it will arrange an inspection and follow the inspector’s recommendations for management work.

Where a privately-owned tree is identified as posing a risk to public users of highways and open spaces or it is impeding access to a public right of way or highway, the county council can serve a notice on the landowner to carry out tree work to make the tree safe or clear access.

Requesting additional surveys

Where a resident is unhappy with the recommendations from the QTRA survey and requests a second tree assessment, this will be offered at a fee, which will be refunded if an issue is identified. Where this is agreed, an alternative assessor will carry out the second QTRA. Charges for tree safety assessments will be based on the work required with a minimum cost of £100.

Where a resident wishes to engage a private contractor to assess a tree, Monmouthshire County Council will only consider the recommendations where they are presented in writing and the assessment meets the criteria set out in the full tree policy.

Trees requiring special consideration

Many trees outside of county council ownership are already recognised for special status by the use of Tree Preservation Orders (TPO). However, TPOs are not applicable to local authority-owned trees. Therefore, to ensure that such trees are given due consideration several descriptors are used to identify them as having special value; these include Champion Trees, Notable Trees, Ancient Trees and Veteran Trees.

In addition, some trees and woodlands have been planted to commemorate special events or as part of historic landscapes and, more recently, for landscape restoration and enhancement. The value of these trees is often irreplaceable due, for example, to their historical or cultural connections or the age of the trees and associated flora and fauna. This is particularly relevant where trees provide homes for protected species such as bats. Where this is the case, additional laws may be applicable.

Trees affecting public rights of way

Monmouthshire County Council do not own trees adjacent to public rights of way (PROW) and, as such, are not in a position to manage them in any way. However, if a tree or branch falls across a PROW blocking or impeding access, the county council have a duty to clear it. Reports of trees or branches across a PROW can be reported using the MyMon app.

Full policy: