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Trees

Our arboriculture - or tree management - team look after all trees owned by the council across the borough. This includes highway trees, trees in cemeteries, parks, open spaces and housing areas. They also give advice to the planning department about tree preservation orders, conservation areas and how proposed developments might affect trees. 

Trees in a garden or private land are the responsibility of the landowner. 

Can I prune a tree next to my property?

If the tree or trees are within a conservation area or protected by atree preservation orderyou must apply to the council's planning department. You should inform the owner of the tree(s) as a courtesy.

If the trees are not protected you are within your rights to remove any overhanging vegetation to your boundary. You must offer everything you cut back to the owner.

More information about tree felling and pruning [external link]

How can I tell if a tree is damaging my property?

You should contact your insurer who will be able to answer your questions.

Damage to buildings by trees or plants happens far less than many think. However, problems can happen when poor foundations are built on clay soil, next to the roots of a tree. It is then, usually in long dry periods, that movement can happen in a building’s foundations.

If there is evidence of structural damage to your property and it may be because of council-owned trees or shrubs, you should contact us straight away. We will look in to matter and will take appropriate action to prevent any further problems.

Will the council fell a tree next to my property?

We only remove trees that are dead, diseased or dangerous, or where there is proof that a tree has caused damage to buildings.

Trees are blocking light to my property

There is no automatic right to light or a view in law.

I have trees on my property, what are my responsibilities?

The owner of trees has a duty of care to make sure that they are safe. They should be regularly inspected by a professional tree expert (arboriculturalist). They should have professional indemnity insurance. 

If works are needed to a protected tree then they should be done by a tree expert with public liability insurance.

Who owns the trees next to my property?

We do not hold the records of land ownership, but the Land Registry [external link] will be able to help you.

Dead or Dangerous Tree Notice (5 day Notice)

If intending to carry out works that are an exception from the normal requirements to gain written consent, the tree owner (or contractor on their behalf) is advised to provide at least 5 working days notice in writing, to Darlington Borough Council before doing so.

Exceptions include:

  • Cutting down a tree when the whole tree presents an 'urgent and serious safety risk' (see note)
  • Pruning part of a tree which presents an 'urgent and serious safety risk' (see note)
  • cutting down a dead tree

Note 

The law makes it clear that in terms of exceptions, dangerous means ‘immediate risk of serious harm’.
Therefore a risk assessment would address the size of branch or tree (being assessed) and the likelihood of it falling on a vulnerable or valuable target.

How to submit a Notice when an exception applies

Email   [email protected]

Subject: Tree requests (5 day notice) 

The following information must be provided;

  • Identify the tree
    • Species/type of tree
    • Size
    • Location
  • Describe the planned works 
  • Describe why the works are an exception
  • Include contact details for the owner and contractor/arborist

Within 5 days our Arboricultural Officer will inspect, determine whether works to a tree can be done under a five day notice and advise you of their decision.