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:
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 recruiting a tree planting officer and preparing a tree planting strategy, which will include our approach to tree planting and how we will increase this with at least 15,000 new trees planted by 2030.
Our trees strategy was approved by Cabinet in February 2023. This can be found in full here.
The strategy includes:
- Information about our trees and the benefits that they have for Sandwell.
- What we will and will not be able to do on trees on Council land and private trees (listed above).
- A commitment to complete and inspection and survey of all trees in Sandwell red risk areas over the next two years (an estimated 80,000 trees).
- A commitment to complete any remedial works as a result of these inspections.
- A regular cycle of inspections based on risk categories of trees following the bulk inspection and remedial works taking place now.
Our contractors and trees team are currently undertaking inspections of all red risk trees, and then remedial works (usually pruning and feathering) as a result of these inspections. We are currently planning a full schedule of these inspections, and will publish this on a ward basis shortly. In the meantime you are still able to report an issue with a tree via the report it function on the website.