Trees and hedges
The Council is responsible for the maintenance of trees and hedges on its own land. These fall into several categories - please see below. It is also responsible for the administration and enforcement of Tree Preservation Orders, regulation of trees in Conservation Areas and Hedgerow Regulations on agricultural land.
The Council is not responsible for the maintenance of trees or hedges on private land, including gardens. Council staff will however give limited advice or assistance where possible, without legal liability.
Kent County Council are responsible for the inspection and maintenance of trees owned by the Highway Authority eg: on grass verges or in the foot way adjacent to a road.
Where the tree is adjacent to the Highway on private land, the owner of the land may be required to carry out works to make it safe if it is considered to be a danger to users of the highway.
Trees in Council parks or open space
If the park or open space is owned by this Council - parks in the Parishes are generally in the ownership of the relevant Parish Council (see link below) - then the Landscape Section of Leisure Services will inspect and arrange maintenance of trees on behalf of the relevant Council section responsible for the management of that site. The aim is to strike a balance between safety, amenity and conservation, for the benefit of the community as a whole.
Trees in gardens of Council houses
These are generally the responsibility of the tenant. If a tenant is unable to carry out normal inspection and relevant maintenance then in the first instance they should contact their Housing Estate Officer (see link below). If that officer considers that works are necessary at Council expense then they will ask the Leisure Services Section to carry out a technical inspection, and arrange works via one of it's contractors.
Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) or Trees in Conservation Areas
Planning Regulations require that anyone wishing to undertake any works to a tree that is covered by a TPO, or one which is in a Conservation Area, must first apply in writing to the Council for consent. If you wish to carry out works to a tree, firstly you should check to see if it is covered by these Regulations by contacting the Planning Development Control Section. They will send you the relevant forms if necessary.
If works are carried out to a tree covered by these Regulations, without consent, then both the owner of the land and persons carrying out the works would be committing an offence. If found guilty by a Court, both could find themselves subject to an unlimited fine. If you are in doubt as to whether a tree is "protected" then a simple call to the Council's Planning Section (please see link below) should help.
Hedgerow Regulations apply to hedgerows in rural areas that are not a part of a domestic dwelling. These Regulations are presently being reviewed by the Government and may be extended to other areas. If you wish to carry out any work, other than normal annual maintenance, to such a hedge you are advised to contact the Planning Department (see link below) to establish whether your hedge is exempt or covered by the Regulations.
Part 8 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 came into effect on 1 June 2005.
- High Hedges: a common boundary dispute
- Government code of practice on high hedges - www.gov.uk *
- Planning Applications
Chalara Fraxinea (Ash Dieback)
Ash dieback disease is caused by a fungus and ash trees with symptoms of the disease are increasingly being found across Europe.
If you have any concerns about trees:
- On Dartford Borough Council land, call 01322 343434
- On private land, call the Forestry Commission on 0131 314 6414
Countryside Access Service Update Issue no 1 - 06.11.12 17.30
The fungus ash die-back (Chalara Fraxinea) has now been confirmed as infecting "wild" populations of ash trees across a number of locations in Kent. Detailed information on this organism, suggested precautions to reduce risk of spread, a map showing confirmed sites and details of how to report suspected cases can be found at the following website address: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/find-a-specific-tree-pest-or-disease
The following advice should be followed when working within or visiting areas of Kent with confirmed records for the fungus or where you identify/suspect it to be:
- Do not remove any plant material (firewood, sticks, leaves or cuttings) from infected woodland / countryside;
- Before leaving the infected woodland/countryside, clean soil mud and leaves from footwear, wheels and tyres and tools;
- Before visiting other countryside sites, urban green space, garden centres and nurseries thoroughly wash footwear, wheels and tyres and tools;
- Please follow instructions on any official signs found;
- Vegetation-clearance within known infected parts of the County can continue but no plant material should be removed from site but incorporated into wood or brash-piles on site. Further, good bio-security precautions around cleaning tools, equipment and vehicles should be followed if working within known Chalara Fraxinea infected areas
If you suspect any cases of the disease please contact the Forestry Commission; 0131 314 6414; or Online: Report plant health issues
Further updates on this outbreak will be posted as the situation progresses