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Trees | Sandwell Council

Trees

Sandwell Arboriculture team are responsible for trees on land owned by the council. Our team inspects, surveys, and take care of hundreds of trees, and deal with several thousand tree enquiries a year. 

Trees are essential to the health and wellbeing of our communities, improve the look and feel of our streets and green spaces, provide a home to birds and wildlife, and contribute significantly to our climate change objectives.

There are two ways our team look after our trees in Sandwell: 

  1. Pruning or Removing (felling) Trees on Council land, but only when they are proven by a qualified person to be:

    • Diseased, damaged, or dying 
       
    • Dangerous, because the tree or part of the tree has fallen or is at risk of falling
       
    • Causing damage to a property 
       
    • Obstructing vehicles or pedestrians 
       
    • Blocking council street lighting, road signs, or traffic lights
       
    • When it is necessary to keep trees healthy
       
  2. Providing tree planting advice and planting new trees.
     

Works We Cannot Undertake

There are many works we cannot undertake on trees. These are usually because:

  • This is not an issue of public safety or would unnecessarily harm the tree (i.e. we do not regularly prune all trees, because this is not always needed to maintain their health).
  • The tree is healthy and structurally sound; trees are vital for our health and wellbeing, and important habitats for birds and nature.
  • The works required are not considered essential, and therefore a low priority for spend (these works may be delayed for the future, or remain under observation).

Specific works we do not undertake, for the following reasons:

  1. Overhanging Branches
    If branches from tree on council land are overhanging your property, you are permitted to prune the branches back to the boundary of your property (and no further). The Council are unable to fund or do this work, and any cuttings must be disposed off by the resident and not left on council land.

  2. Trees blocking light or affecting television reception
    It is not our policy to prune or cut down trees because they are blocking sun light or affecting television reception.

  3. Bird droppings, sap or pollen
    We are unable to prune or remove trees because of bird droppings or sap falling onto the ground, cars, or property.

  4. Tree damaging property
    If you think a tree is damaging your property, you should speak to your home insurance company or seek independent advice – we are unable to provide this advice or assessment. If it is proved that a tree on council land has damaged your property, or could cause damage in the future, we may carry out work on the tree.

  5. Tree damaging pipes
    It is rare for tree roots to damage water pipes. Tree roots can take advantage of a pipe that is already damaged. We do not carry out works on trees for this reason, as repairing the pipe is the solution. If you believe you have a damaged underground pipe on your property, you should speak to your home insurance provider or seek independent advice.

  6. Fallen leaves and fruit
    Leaves and fallen fruit on highways or council land that you feel is causing a hazard should be reported to street cleansing, through the report it functions. We do not clear leaves or fallen fruit on private property, even if this comes from nearby trees.

  7. Trees on private land or gardens
    Private property owners are responsible for maintaining and making sure trees on their property are safe. We are unable to advise on private disputes. A qualified tree surgeon can help advise you on this. If, after all efforts, the dispute has not been resolved between residents, they can contact the neighbourhood team for support through the council website.

Our Approach to Tree Planting

Sandwell is committed to increasing our tree canopy cover. This means planting new trees, as well as taking care of the many trees we already have. We are currently preparing a trees strategy, which will include our approach to tree planting and how we will increase this with at least 10,000 new trees planted by 2030.

Our current tree planting approach includes:

  • Trees are usually planted between October and March. These are also to replace trees that have had to be removed. Our aim is to plant a tree for every one that is removed.
  • Residents can plant trees in their own private gardens; these trees should be the right type of tree and planted in the right way to ensure this does not become an issue in future. Read further information about tree planting choices.
  • You can request a tree to be planted on council land. This will be considered as part of our tree planting programme. You can do this through the report it function.
  • If your request relates to planting a memorial tree, we may be able to facilitate this at your cost. We do not allow Plaques on trees or placed near a tree, except for special circumstances (i.e. national remembrance events).

Trees Strategy

Our trees strategy will be published late 2022, and this will include our approach and plan for tree planting between now and 2030. This will also help to meet our climate change objectives. If you have a tree planting scheme you want to propose for your community, business, or council land, please do this through the report it function on this website. We will consider all requests as part of the tree’s strategy.