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The list below outlines the nature of the most frequent requests made to Monmouthshire County Council regarding tree pruning. All of these are non-essential and requests for pruning or felling for these reasons will not be considered.

It is important to reiterate that any pruning work has the potential to provide the opportunity for pathogens to enter via wounds. Pruning can also promote vigorous re-growth leading to the need for future cyclical management at significant and ongoing cost. Therefore, pruning will only be carried out where it is necessary.

Click the questions below for the answers:

Q. Will the council prune trees for cosmetic reasons, appearance or height?

This is unnecessary, costly and may adversely affect the long-term health and structural integrity of trees. Therefore, Monmouthshire County Council do not prune trees for reasons except where street trees have been traditionally pollarded to avoid obstructing signs or sight-lines to ensure public safety.

Q. Will the council prune trees to improve light / reduce shading?

There is no statutory or common law right to light applicable to trees in the UK. Therefore, Monmouthshire County Council will not carry out tree works to allow natural light or reduce shading in relation to domestic property. However, where two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees in a line have the potential to be considered as a hedge, Part 8 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 may be relevant. Where this is the case, the council will carry out an assessment on these grounds.

Q. Will the council prune trees to improve the effectiveness of solar panels?

The fact that there is no statutory or common law right to light applicable to trees in the UK also affects the use of solar panels. The presence of existing trees and the impact that they may have, both at present and in the future, should be taken into account when considering the installation of solar panels and the county council will not prune trees for this reason.

Q. My neighbour’s tree is too big and is blocking out light, what can I do?

There is no actual right to light in law and it is not a criminal offence to allow a tree to grow to any size in a domestic garden. Your neighbour therefore is not breaking the law. It is advisable that you approach your neighbour in a friendly manner and explain the problems the tree is causing.

Q. Will the council prune trees to improve the effectiveness of TV aerials or satellite dishes?

The purchase of a TV licence or subscription to a service provider such as Sky, provides the purchaser with the right to operate the equipment that receives any available signal. However, there is no legal right to TV / satellite signals in the UK. Monmouthshire County Council will not carry out tree works in relation to loss or disruption of signal. Guidance should be sought from the service provider with regard to negating issues relating to reception.

Q. My neighbour’s tree is interfering with my television reception, what can I do?

Again, there is no legal entitlement to television. Try approaching your neighbour or if it is feasible, move your aerial or satellite dish to a better position away from the tree.

Q. Will the council prune trees that have grown and are now blocking my view?

As there is no right to a scenic view un-obscured by trees in the UK. Monmouthshire County Council will not carry out tree works solely to improve views to and from domestic or commercial premises. This includes areas where views may have previously existed. Monmouthshire County Council do reserve the right to remove its own trees where it can be established that this will be for the benefit of public landscape and visual amenity – for example, in respect to historic parks.

Q. Will the council prune trees as they shed leaves, fruits and debris?

Reasonable debris such as leaves, fruits, nuts, flowers, residues, minor deadwood, are naturally occurring by-products of the trees’ life processes and must be expected where trees occur. Monmouthshire County Council will not carry out tree works in relation to negating such matters.

Q. Will the council prune trees to reduce the nuisance caused by birds and insects?

The excretions of birds and insects, primarily honeydew associated with aphids, are beyond the control of Monmouthshire County Council and, therefore, no tree works will be undertaken to prevent problems of this nature.

Q. Will the council prune trees because branches are overhanging my boundary?

Monmouthshire County Council have no duty to prune overhanging branches except where they are in direct or potential conflict with an adjacent built structure. The owner or occupier of adjacent land does have a common law right to cut back overhanging branches to their boundary line. However, it should also be noted that anyone carrying out tree pruning under this right owes a duty of care to the owners of trees and should take reasonable precaution when enacting this right in order to ensure that the long-term health and structural integrity of trees is not compromised. Anyone wishing to enact their common law right to cut back trees to their boundary where Monmouthshire County Council owns the trees is encouraged to liaise with the county council. This is to ensure that works do not compromise the health of the tree or breach protective designations. Furthermore, there is no automatic right to carry out work on a tree from council-owned land. Where access is required, the county council must be contacted to agree access prior to any work carried out.

Any tree management work carried out under this right should adhere to the following:

  • All work is carried out in accordance with BS 3998:2010 Tree Work – Recommendations
  • Work is carried out at a time that does not conflict with leaf burst or leaf fall
  • All work is carried out in accordance with relevant wildlife legislation
  • Any contractor employed is suitably qualified and insured
  • Disposal methods of all material associated with the works are agreed with the county council in advance and must be in a legal, safe and environmentally friendly manner
  • It is the responsibility of the person authorising the management works to remove and dispose of cut material and foliage properly or to ensure any contractor does so.
Q. What can I do about my neighbour’s overhanging branches?

It is not a criminal offence to allow branches from a tree or shrub to overhang a neighbouring property. Your neighbour therefore does not have a legal duty to cut them back for you. As above, in Common Law you have the right, should you choose to use it, to arrange for the removal of any overhanging branches as far as your legal boundary line and no further. You may do this without first seeking permission of the owner of the tree.

Q. Can I enter my neighbours land to do this?

No, you must first obtain the landowner’s permission to do so.

Q. What do I do with the branches I cut off?

Whatever is cut from the tree, including any fruit remains the property of the tree owner and should either be offered back or placed neatly back on the land upon which the tree is growing.

Q. My neighbour is unapproachable or unfriendly towards me, will the council intervene?

Please be aware that this is a private matter between you and your neighbour in which the Council has neither powers nor duty to act. We will not approach your neighbour on your behalf. It may be helpful to engage a third party such as Monmouthshire Mediation Service. Please see the following link

Q. I am concerned that my neighbour’s tree is dangerous, what can I do?

Owners or occupiers of land have a responsibility called a Duty of Care to ensure that their property, whether of a public place or residence, is safe. With respect to trees, this means that they must ensure, that as far as is reasonably practicable, their tree does not pose an unacceptable risk to you or your property. The owner of the tree is solely responsible and could be liable to a claim for negligence if they do not ztake reasonable steps to ensure the tree is safe.  This may include having the tree inspected by a qualified tree safety surveyor. You are advised to seek independent legal advice regarding this.

Q. I think my neighbour’s tree is causing damage to the foundations of my house. What can I do?

You need to establish the facts by employing a suitably qualified person such as a structural engineer to investigate the matter for you. Most mortgage companies can arrange a professional subsidence report.

Q. Can I pay for pruning to be done to council owned trees?

Monmouthshire County Council value the countywide tree population and will manage them appropriately. Therefore, the council will not consider requests by individuals to pay for tree removal or pruning of county council-owned trees as this would be unnecessary and would have a negative impact on the local environment and its community.

Q. I think my neighbour’s hedge is too high. What can I do?

It is not a criminal offence to allow a hedge to reach any height.  However, some types of hedges such as evergreen or semi evergreen (i.e. those that retain some leaves in winter) are subject to the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003.  Where this is the case, The role of the local authority is not to mediate or negotiate between the complainant and the hedge owner but to adjudicate on whether – in the words of the Act – the hedge is adversely affecting the complainant’s reasonable enjoyment of their property.

Further information can be found in the guidance note High hedges: Complaining to the Council details of which can be found on the following link here. It is suggested that you read this carefully before contacting the Council.

Q. A tree outside my house is interfering with telephone cables, what can I do?

Most of the time trees and phone cables coexist without a problem and it only becomes an issue if a tree or branch fails. If you suspect a tree is interfering with telephone cables please contact British Telecom on 01633 843131

Q. I’m worried that a tree is interfering with overhead power cables, what should I do?

On no account should you attempt to rectify this yourself. Please contact National Grid 0800 096 3080 National Grid – Contact us to report the problem.