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Trees

Find out about our tree inspection work and other woodland management tasks.

Millmead misty landscape

Tree inspections

We carry out regular inspections on Council-owned trees to ensure that the trees are safely managed, and that they do not pose an unreasonable risk of harm to you or your property.

We assess the need for tree safety work in accordance with the foreseeable risk of harm from tree failure, and take appropriate actions where necessary to minimise risks.

We aim to retain trees wherever possible, including dead wood in areas where this does not represent a hazard to people or property.

Report a tree problem

If a hazardous tree is presenting an unacceptable risk of harm to either people or property, we will attend the situation and take appropriate action.

If you think a tree in a Council-owned property is presenting a hazard to people or property, then please contact your Area Housing Manager.

If you have seen a problem with a tree in our borough, you can report the issue using our Report a tree problem online form.

We are not able to help with the problem if the tree is on private land.

We focus our limited resources where they are most needed such as undertaking work to trees for the purpose of reducing the risk of harm to persons or property where appropriate. We will not undertake non-essential tree works which would include:

  • undertaking work to increase light levels to an adjacent property

  • removing or pruning trees to prevent dropping of honeydew during the summer months and/or tree seeds and leaves in the late summer and autumn

  • cutting back branches overhanging a property unless they are causing damage or in direct contact with a property.

Occupiers of a property have a right in common law to carry out some pruning to overhanging branches coming from trees on neighbouring land, including council owned trees.

Please note you still need to request permission to cut overhanging branches from a protected tree or any tree within a Conservation Area.

Woodland management

We are responsible for managing about 400ha of woodland and forestry in the borough.

Our team work to maintain a pleasant environment for you to enjoy throughout the year.

The aims of woodland management include:

  • encouraging you to use our woodlands by keeping them accessible for recreation
  • maintaining and improving the landscape of the woodlands
  • increasing the value of the woods for wildlife.

We carry out woodland management works, including coppicing, thinning and removing trees to maintain and develop a multi-layered woodland habitat such as the bluebell woods at the Chantries.

We aim to improve extant habitat for the rare and declining hazel dormouse that occurs on some of our sites.

We also manage populations of sensitive veteran trees at some of our sites. This includes:

  • carrying out 'haloing' work which involves the phased removal of competing adjacent trees/vegetation
  • specialised pruning work intended to improve structural condition and enhance vitality
  • taking measures to improve rooting conditions.

All these treatments aim to improve tree vitality and increase longevity.

We hope that you will visit and enjoy the fantastic woodland spaces that we have available in Guildford.

Tree works

If you are planning to carry out works to trees in the borough, you may need permission from the planning authority or the Forestry Commission.

Certain trees within our borough are protected by  Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs). TPOs protect trees that make a significant impact on local surroundings. To carry out work to a tree protected under a TPO, you will require permission.

You can check to see if a tree or area of trees is protected by using My Guildford to search for an address.

Special provisions also apply to trees within a Conservation Area.