If you have an issue with a tree, the first step is to find out who owns it. You can then approach the land owner to ask them to take action, such as cutting it back.

If the land owner refuses, you are allowed to cut back their tree under common law, but only to your boundary and only if:

  • the tree is not protected
  • you don’t trespass onto the other person’s property
  • it doesn’t disturb bats or nesting birds
  • you offer the cuttings to the owner, or dispose of them responsibly if they don't take them

If you are unable or unwilling to cut their tree back, you can check GOV.UK for advice about resolving neighbour disputes

We have no powers to force the tree owner to take action and won't carry out work on trees that we do not own. 

If you need to find a tree professional, you can get find guidance from The Arboricultural Association website.

Trees overhanging the highway

If the tree is overhanging a public highway, it is again the responsibility of the land owner to cut back any vegetation. 

The land next to a highway is usually owned by Essex County Council, who are the local highway authority in this area. You can report an issue to them.

You can also report trees to them if they are blocking a road or footpath.

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Last updated: 21 November 2022