Report a problem with a tree

We maintain trees in streets, parks, open spaces and woodlands. We also maintain trees in Council house gardens.  

Work we will do 

We will carry out the following work on trees that we are responsible for maintaining:

  • Remove dead, dying or dangerous trees.
  • Remove trees that are within 2 metres of a property (see the Trees near buildings section below for more information). 
  • Remove dangerous branches. 
  • Remove branches that obscure road signs, traffic lights or lamp posts. 
  • Inspect and, if necessary, repair any trip hazard caused by the trees. 
  • Inspect trees causing daylight obstruction to the South or South West of the property.   Work may proceed after this inspection.  An exception to this is in the case of established trees or woodlands predating the house construction.
  • Thin groups of trees to improve the condition of the remaining trees. 

Work we will not do 

We will not carry out any of the following work on trees:

  • Cut back branches overhanging private property. The property owner has the legal right to cut back these branches on any tree which is not a protected tree
  • ‘Top’ trees or remove branches to increase daylight or decrease height in relation to property (See note regarding South or South West trees above).
  • Remove branches or trees which affect views or interfere with TV reception. 
  • Remove branches or trees to prevent falling leaves, honeydew from aphids or other minor debris. 
  • Remove roots from gardens.
  • Remove roots from drains or repair damage to structures where the tree is not the main cause of the damage.
  • Remove branches or trees to prevent the roots from damaging structures.  
  • Remove branches which are close to buildings, walls, roofs, fences etc.
  • Remove branches or trees to prevent access to squirrels or birds. 
  • Remove branches or trees affecting phone lines (see the Trees near phone lines section below for more information). 

Report a problem with a tree

You can use our online form to report issues with trees in public spaces, including emergencies, or to make a request for tree work to be carried out.

In an emergency, you can also call us any time on 03000 200 292 (option 4).

If you don't know if the tree is maintained by the Council, please contact us and we will tell you. 

What happens next?

Once we have received your request, we will assess it within 10 working days. We aim to assess the work and instruct a contractor, if appropriate, within 6 weeks. However, during busy periods this may take longer. If we decide the work is not necessary then we will let you know. However under certain circumstances you are still entitled to arrange for work to be carried out by a private tree surgeon.

Trees near buildings

Trees should be a minimum of 2 metres away from housing. If the main trunk of a tree in the garden of a house is in this category the tree should be cut down. We will only consider keeping a tree 2 metres or less from a house if it has a high amenity or historical value. If the main trunk of a tree in the garden of a house is within 5 metres and the crown is within 2 metres of housing, we will assess whether the tree is appropriate for its location. We may consider reducing the crowns of trees in this category. 

Please use the online form above if you have any enquiries about trees near buildings.

Trees near phone lines

We will not carry out any works on trees relating to British Telecom (BT) lines, unless the line is an emergency life line.
If you are concerned about your phone connection, please report the problem to BT (Openreach). Under the Telecommunications (Electronic Communications) code, where trees are obstructing or interfering with BT apparatus, BT will notify the relevant party that the trees must be lopped. In most cases, BT will carry out and pay for this work. Landowners should not lop trees affecting apparatus without first consulting BT, or BT will not agree to pay costs and will charge the landowner for any damaged apparatus. 

If the Council are unable to do the work, can I get it done myself?

In common law, a property owner can cut overhanging branches back to the boundary of their property. We will usually have no objection to property owners carrying out tree work or paying for a contractor to do this, provided that:

  • You do not access the neighbouring land or a tree on that land. If you require access to Council land or a Council-owned tree, you must get our permission. Please use the online form above to contact us for permission. 
  • The tree is not a protected tree, that is, in a Conservation Area or protected by a Tree Preservation Order.
  • You do not carry out any work that damages the health or stability of the tree. 

Contact details

For initial enquiries, please complete the online form above or call Environmental Services on 03000 200 292.

Environmental Services
Business Hub 11
Level 2 West
Marischal College
Broad Street
AB10 1AB

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