Tree work

Trees in streets, parks, open spaces and woodlands in Aberdeen City are owned by the Council. If you live in a Council house and have trees in your garden, these trees are also owned by the Council. We are responsible for maintaining trees that we own and will carry out certain types of work on them.  

Work we will do 

We will carry out the following work on trees that we own:

  • 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 limbs. 
  • Remove limbs obscure road signs, traffic lights or lamp posts. 
  • Inspect and, if necessary, repair any trip hazard caused by the trees. 
  • Inspect trees obstructing daylight to the south or south west of a property. We will carry out work if necessary as a result of this inspection, unless the woodland was established before the house was built. 
  • 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 that we own:

  • 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 reduce height in relation to property (unless they are obstructing daylight to the south or south west of a property, see 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). 

Request tree work

You can use our online form to report issues with Council-owned trees or make a request for tree work to be carried out.

If you do not know whether or not the tree is owned 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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