Tree maintenance: How we make decisions

Tree maintenance: How we make decisions

We know that trees are of paramount importance to our communities, and that people have very strong views about their placement, upkeep and how they may impact on residents’ quality of life.

All of our decisions in relation to tree maintenance and management are made on the basis of our Newcastle Trees Policy, evidence, the law and sound arboricultural practice.

Where we carry out work

Newcastle City Council has a regular programme of proactive inspection and maintenance that seeks to identify, prevent and resolve any issues with trees, shrubs or hedges on our land.

We also receive a number of reports and requests for arboricultural works from landowners, members of the public, developers, and other bodies.

Where these identify an urgent health and safety issue we will inspect and carry out any works to make an area safe within one working day.

Where we may take action

Trees, shrubs and hedges within our urban environment are fundamental to our aims, including those relating to the climate emergency, and our legal obligations.

Service requests and reports are a valuable resource, as local people’s day to day observations can be a useful early warning system for developing hazards or maintenance requirements.

However, while these requests may include genuine risks or major nuisances, they are also often concerned with someone’s personal preference or only a perceived problem with a particular tree.

The most common subjects of such requests are:

  • Shade/reduced light to properties
  • Effects on TV or satellite reception
  • Obstruction of views
  • Obstruction of or contact with telephone lines
  • Interference with other vegetation
  • Minor or seasonal nuisances
  • Perceived risk and ‘worry’
  • Aphid excretion (honeydew)
  • Bird droppings
  • Algae, lichen or moss growth (typically associated with shade)
  • Leaf, fruit, twig or flower shedding
  • Germinating seedlings in gardens
  • Aesthetic preference or opinion (‘untidiness’)

Every request for work on a tree, shrub or hedge that the council owns is considered on its own merits.

In doing so we must balance our finite resources versus people’s sensitivities and what may be their relatively minor nature when judged against the many wider benefits of having trees and hedges.

Generally, while we appreciate that these issues may cause real concern to some residents, they would not usually be considered unacceptable – however, exceptions may be made where justified by the circumstances.

Where there is genuine inconvenience or distress, if appropriate, we will look at an alternative management approach.

Should a request be rejected, if you disagree with our decision, then please find out about our appeals process on our tree, shrub and hedge maintenance page.

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