In Basingstoke and Deane we are fortunate to have a rich diversity of trees and significant woodland cover compared with other parts of the country. We work to ensure that this resource is protected and maintained for current and future generations, whilst dealing with the risks associated with trees and seeking to minimise the inconvenience that they can sometimes cause, particularly in built up areas.
With over 85,000 trees in our ownership and more than 100ha of woodland, 3,000 privately and council-owned trees protected by tree preservation orders and many more by conservation area status, we have to carefully prioritise the services we provide. This charter explains these priorities in relation to the services that we provide directly to the public and the standards that we aim to meet.
Protection of important trees
The council provides three main services to protect important trees:
Protected tree enquiries
We aim to let you know if a tree is protected within one working day of receiving your enquiry.
Reports of unauthorised work
- If you report work being undertaken to a protected tree, which is unauthorised, and if work is in progress when we receive the report, we will respond immediately.
- If the works have already been completed and this is within five working days of receiving the report, we aim to visit the site within two working days.
- Older reports will be followed up where there is likely to be sufficient evidence to enable the council to take legal action.
In all cases, we will let you know what action we are taking as a result of your call. We reserve the right not to investigate where a complainant is unwilling to give their name or where a long period of time has passed between the alleged offence taking place and the council being notified.
Requests to protect important trees
When we receive a tree preservation order request form, we will make an initial assessment of the risk to the tree and its importance. Based on this assessment, we will aim to make a site visit within five working days for high risk situations and 15 working days for lower risk situations. In all cases, we will write to you to advise you of our decision within 20 working days.
You can download a copy of a tree preservation order request form below.
Carrying out work to protected trees
We recognise that even protected trees, need management. You will normally need to get the council’s consent for this to ensure that the work is appropriate and will not cause harm to the local environment. For further advice please see our leaflet Dead, Dying or Dangerous Trees below.
For all routine tree work, the following timescales apply, which allows time for consultation and for a tree officer to visit the site:
- Trees subject to a preservation order. In most cases, we will inform you of our decision within eight weeks of receiving a completed application form. In some exceptional cases, your application may have to go to a committee for a decision and may take an additional four weeks. If we need additional information from you in order to support your application and this cannot be obtained within the eight week period, we will give you the option of agreeing to a longer timescale rather than just refusing it due to the lack of information.
- Trees in conservation areas. The procedures for trees within conservation areas are simpler than those relating to tree preservation orders and we will inform you of our decision within six weeks.
Emergency work to privately-owned trees
We have discretionary powers to deal with privately-owned trees that are a public danger. These powers apply if the owner fails to deal with the matter or the owner cannot be traced. We can either order the owner to make the tree safe or carry out the work ourselves and charge the owner.
We will respond to these requests within five working days. In emergency situations, we will aim to attend within one working day.
Work to council-owned trees
We aim to complete 90% of the type of works below within the timescales. During, or immediately after, gale force winds or other exceptional weather conditions such as very heavy snowfall, it is unlikely that we will be able to meet these targets. Emergency situations, where there is a risk to life and/or property, will take priority.
- We will have contractors on site within one hour in emergency situations, for example responding to a fallen tree on the highway.
- We will attend to a hanging branch or fallen tree in a high risk area within one working day.
- We will attend to a fallen tree or large branch within a private garden within one working day.
- We will carry out a site visit to respond to calls regarding low branches over a footway or road or obstructing a sight line within 14 days.
- We will carry out an inspection of obscured street lamps or trees touching a house within 28 days of receiving the call.
Council tree work applications
Applications to prune or remove council owned trees will be processed within 8 weeks. In some cases we may need to consult with neighbouring residents, in which case the application process will take 12 weeks. If you are appealing against an officer decision, or if a councillor has asked the tree appeal panel to resolve the application, then the application will be considered at the first available appeal meeting. These occur every three months or when there are four appeals waiting to be heard - whichever is sooner.
Natural Environment Team
Telephone: 01256 844844