Roadside trees and hedges
Most hedges and trees overhanging public roads and footways are privately owned and the landowner must look after them.
If you are the landowner, you must make sure any hedges or trees you own do not obstruct an adopted road or footway. Hedges and trees must not cause a danger, such as making people walk into the road.
We look after some hedges and trees on public roads and footways. Highway hedges have a road or footway on both sides and highway trees are located wholly on footways.
You should let us know by telephone on 0300 123 5020 during working hours or 0300 5025 outside of working hours if there is an immediate danger such as a fallen branch across a footway or road.
If a hedge or tree is causing a nuisance or you think it is not being properly maintained you should contact the landowner first and ask them to cut it back. They may not be aware it is causing a problem.
If you don’t know who is responsible for a tree or hedge on the edge of your property you should check your property deeds and speak with your neighbours.
You should report an issue with a hedge or tree to us if:
- You have tried to speak to the landowner already and it hasn’t worked
- You are unsure who is responsible for maintenance
- You think we are responsible for maintaining it
Bird nesting season runs from March until August. Some birds may nest outside of this time, so it is important to always check carefully for any nests before cutting.
How to maintain your roadside hedges and trees
You must regularly check your hedges and trees to make sure they do not pose a risk to people or property. You can be held legally responsible for any damage your hedge or tree causes. If you need advice about how to look after a tree you should speak to a qualified tree surgeon or consultant.
You must check if a tree is in a conservation area or protected by either planning permission or a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) before doing any work. It is a criminal offence to carry out works to protected trees without permission. Check your planning permission to see if any trees are protected.
You do not need permission to cut back branches overhanging your property unless the tree is protected. You can cut back branches as long as you limit the work to pruning side branches back to the boundary line. You will need to return any branches you remove to the owner of the tree.
The Highways Act 1980 (Section 154) says we must protect the safety of highway users by ensuring that owners and occupiers carry out their legal duty to maintain roadside hedges and trees.
We may contact you if your hedge or tree is unsafe or causing an obstruction and you need to cut it back. We assess the risk of each situation individually and if work isn't carried out we may do it ourselves and claim back the cost from you. If you are struggling to cut back your hedge or tree you should contact us to explain why.
How we look after our roadside hedges and trees
We cut our hedges once a year, usually between October and November. We do this to minimise the impact on animals, plants and habitats. We might have to delay our work if there is bad weather.
We do not carry out routine maintenance to our trees. We inspect our trees as part of our inspection programme and we will only take action if our tree is dead, diseased or dying or damaging property.
We do not remove or prune roadside trees to improve telecommunications reception, or due to leaf-fall, berries, tree sap, bird fouling or lack of light.
We do not offer a hedge trimming or tree pruning service for privately owned hedges and trees.
Find out more about tree maintenance, who is responsible and when you can report a problem.
Highways - Cheshire East Council Report a problem online
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If you consider a highways issue to be dangerous, or an emergency:
Call the Highways Customer Services Team on 0300 123 5020
during office hours 8:30am – 5:00pm
Call the Out of hours team on 0300 123 5025
after 5pm and before 8:30am, including weekends.
Delamere Street Crewe
Page last reviewed: 03 November 2023
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