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Council owned trees


Council owned trees

We carry out regular tree risk management inspections on trees at:

  • parks
  • countryside sites
  • car parks
  • cemeteries
  • all council housing land

We do this to make sure that the risk of harm from our trees is as low as reasonably practicable.

After a tree inspection, any remedial work will be carried out in good time. We will group less urgent works together. These works will be carried out when we next arrange a large-scale contract. Contracts are dependant on time of year (e.g avoiding bird nesting season), our workload and available budget.

Private trees

Please do not contact us about private tree issues. We can't help with tree issues between neighbours. We do not inspect trees on private land as we are not responsible for these trees.

Trees on private land are the responsibility and liability of the landowner. If the landowner is unknown, you can search for them using the Land Registry.

Some trees within our borough are protected by Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs). To carry out work to a tree protected under a TPO, you need permission. You must apply to the planning department if you wish to carry out work on a tree protected by a TPO. This also applies to trees within a conservation area. Special provisions apply to trees within a conservation area.

You can use the 'About my area' section of your MyGuildford account to find out about local TPOs and conservation areas.

Always ask for proof of 'public liability insurance' before letting individuals or companies work on your trees. You can find approved tree surgeons and consultants on the Arboricultural Association website.

Pruning trees on private land

Occupiers of a property have a right in common law to lightly prune overhanging branches. This includes trees on neighbouring land and council owned trees.

You could ask the advice of an Arboricultural Association approved contractor if you are unsure how much pruning you can do.

If a tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) or in a conservation area, you must request permission to cut overhanging branches.

Pruning, Felling and dead trees

We only prune trees if our inspections show that there is a risk of harm from tree failure. If a tree has direct contact with property or is blocking access.

We value all our trees and only ever fell them as a last resort and when there is no other way to safely keep them. We try to keep dead trees, or dead wood on the ground in areas where this does not create a hazard to people or property. Dead wood is a very important resource for wildlife.

Cutting back branches overhanging a property

We do not carry out non-essential tree work, such as cutting back branches overhanging a property. (Unless they are causing damage or are in direct contact with a property). We focus our limited resources where they are most needed. This includes work to trees that reduces the risk of harm to persons or property.

Tree work to increase light levels to a nearby property

We do not carry out non-essential tree work, such as work to increase light levels to a nearby property. We focus our limited resources where they are most needed . This includes work to trees that reduces the risk of harm to persons or property.

Removing or pruning trees to prevent dropping of honeydew, tree seeds or leaves

We do not carry out non-essential tree work, such as removing or pruning trees to prevent the dropping of:

  • honeydew 
  • tree seeds
  • leaves 

​​​​​We focus our limited resources where they are most needed. This includes work to trees that reduces the risk of harm to persons or property.

Street trees

We do not inspect street trees. These trees are the responsibility of Surrey County Council. 

Report a street tree problem to Surrey County Council

Woodland management

We manage about 400 hectares of woodland in the borough, working to maintain a pleasant environment for everyone.

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 woodland for wildlife

Our woodland management works aim to maintain and develop a multi-layered woodland habitat. Such as bluebell woods at the Chantries. Works include coppicing, thinning and removing trees.

We aim to improve habitat for the rare and declining hazel dormouse that lives on some of our sites. We also manage populations of sensitive ancient and veteran (older) trees at some of our sites. This includes:

  • 'haloing' work which involves removing competing trees/vegetation in stages
  • specialised pruning work to improve the structure and make the tree stable
  • improving the quality of the rooting environment and the health of the tree

All these treatments aim to improve the trees so that they live longer.

We hope that you will visit and enjoy the fantastic woodlands that we have in Guildford.

The value of trees

Trees and woodland play a prominent role in the Surrey landscape. Trees have an intrinsic appeal as landscape and cultural features. They also have a high biological and heritage value. For further information on the benefits of trees please visit the Forestry Commission and Arboricultural Association websites.

Tree planting

We use the 'right tree, right place' mantra. We want to establish a diverse and resilient tree stock.

We aim to:

  • increase the number of trees each year
  • apply for external grants to cover costs
  • replace trees that have been removed following inspections
  • seek out new planting locations across the borough

We are working in partnership with Surrey County Council. We aim to deliver the Local Authority Treescape Fund over the next few years.

Planting runs from October to March and covers all council owned land.

How many trees have we planted?

We plant both standard trees and whips. Whips are unbranched young tree seedlings about 0.5 to 1 metre in height.

YearStandard treesWhips




Tree planting guidance


Report a problem with a council owned tree

Guildford Borough Council 

Read the frequently asked questions above before reporting a problem with a Guildford Borough Council owned tree. 

If your question hasn't been answered above, you can report it below.

Once you have submitted a form, we will review it. If the tree is dangerous and risks harm to either people or property, we'll come and take the action needed. If you have asked us to, we will let you know the outcome of the inspection by e-mail.

Report a tree problem to Guildford Borough Council

Surrey County Council 

Surrey County Council are responsible for trees near public roads, pavements and footpaths. They are not responsible for trees on private roads or property.

Report a tree problem to Surrey County Council