You would never know, until all the systems and responsibilities have been explained, just how far bureaucracy blows amongst the branches of trees. We are blessed with trees (without them we might have to call the village ‘Croxley Grey’!)  If any paper-bound official is tempted to think of them as passive, space-fillers; or ornaments, let him know they are alive.

The main concern I receive is of overgrown trees on the highway.  This is a matter for Hertfordshire County Council, but I will certainly take the matter up with them, and indeed I frequently do so.

There are also trees elsewhere which get wound around with red tape more tightly than ivy.

Trees by the highway

The trees actually within the pavement are the responsibility of Hertfordshire County Council.  If one of their trees is causing problems, that is the first port of call, even if they need pushing a bit

To start though, if you don’t tell them about it, they won’t know about it. I have persuaded Herts CC allow their dedicated reporting form to trees, as well as all other highway matters, such as potholes:

If a pavement tree overhangs your property, you should be able to trim it yourself, unless it is a protected tree (see below).

Herts CC will not trim a tree just because it has become overgrown so as to block the light to your window:  that’s just nature. However if it is causing property damage, that is a serious matter to be dealt with.

It’s worth reading their guidance notes to know when they will and will not act, and how to frame the request:

Otherwise contact me.

Protected trees

Two circumstances require permission from Three Rivers District Council before a tree may be felled or altered:

  • If the tree is subject to a Tree Protection Order;
  • If the tree is in a Conservation Area.

The trouble with trees and conservation, is that while a house in a Conservation Area may stand unchanged through the ages, a tree does not  – it grows, moves, and sometimes dies. There bureaucracy must give way to the reality of a living thing.  If you have a protected tree that needs work, the report of an arboricultural expert may be needed.