Tree Management Protocol & Guidance

2.2 Protocol & Guidance for Effective Tree Management 2.2.10 - 2.2.13

2.2.10 Crossovers & Drop Kerbs

Approvals for crossovers and drop kerbs are assessed on a case-by-case basis and take into account all other environmental and access factors including the proximity to existing trees. When locating a new crossover, a minimum distance is required between the edge of the crossover and the base of the tree stem.

  • For trees growing in the pavement this will be 600mm or twice the diameter of the tree (measured at a height of 1.5m) whichever is the greater.
  • Where trees are growing in verges the construction should follow the principles and recommendations of BS5837:2012 (Trees in relation to construction).

These restrictions are essential to ensure a minimum distance around trees and an increasing level of protection for larger trees and those growing in open undisturbed ground.

If the proposed crossover meets the minimum requirements as set out above, then excavations will be required to assess the underlying root system prior to approval. As per the ‘National Joint Utilities Group: Guidelines for the Planning, Installation and Maintenance of Utility Apparatus in Proximity to Trees (NJUG 4, 2007)’ there will be no severance of roots greater than 25mm without the permission of the Council’s Tree Service. Minor root pruning will be considered by the Tree Service on a case by case basis.

Applications are likely to be refused if:

  • root severance is deemed unacceptable e.g., would affect the long-term health of the tree
  • the installation of a drop kerb is likely to adversely affect the health of the tree

The Council will only consider removing a tree if the outcome follows good arboricultural practice. When this is undertaken to facilitate a crossover, the applicant will cover all costs and compensate for the amenity loss of the tree. The compensation for amenity will be calculated using the ‘Capital Asset Value for Amenity Trees’ (CAVAT) valuation system with the value of the tree recuperated.

2.2.11 Damage to Property

Trees can cause damage to property either directly, as a result of overhanging branches or the collapse of a tree, or indirectly through root growth causing disturbance to foundations or subsidence caused by the fluctuations in water levels affected by trees.

For residents who believe that a Council-owned tree has caused direct damage to their property please contact the Council’s Insurance Department which will investigate this claim. The email or letter should include:

  • Full contact details for the property owner
  • The date of the incident
  • The exact location of the tree
  • A Description of the circumstances surrounding the incident and the extent of damage to the property.

Where a resident feels that a Council-owned tree has caused indirect damage (e.g., subsidence, heave) to their property, they are advised to contact their own insurer in the first instance. The Council’s Tree Service will review and assess all claims however the property owner must provide evidence of the damage at their own cost.

For residents wishing to raise the issue of indirect damage a full list of evidence required can be found at Appendix 3.

In the case of other structural damage to garden walls, drains, paving, driveway surfaces, or other structures, technical evidence submitted by a qualified engineer, building/drainage surveyor or other appropriate expert is required to assess the issue.

Please send all correspondence to or post to Insurance Section, Wing C, 3rd Floor, Riverside House, Main Street, Rotherham, S60 1AE

2.2.12 Damage & Vandalism to Council Owned Trees

Trees are an important asset to the borough and its residents, they are vital in the response to the climate emergency. The Council does not accept alterations and modifications of any kind to its trees without prior permission, this includes pruning, felling or additions such as rope swings. Where Council owned trees are threatened with damage or unauthorised removal the Council will protect trees under the legislation ‘The Town and Country Planning Act’. The Council will prosecute anyone found to be damaging or pruning its trees without permission and will seek the maximum penalty.

For cases where damages and compensation are agreed the Council use the industry approved CAVAT system to calculate the appropriate cost of replacement value of any trees that have been significantly damaged. The Council will seek the full CAVAT value for any trees damaged due to vandalism.

2.2.13 Trees in Private Ownership

The duty of care to ensure that a tree does not pose a risk to people or property is with the tree owner and not the local authority. The Council is not insured to give professional advice or undertake work relating to trees in private ownership.

If a tree owner requires advice on the management of their trees it is recommended that they contact a suitably trained tree surgeon or consultant. The Arboricultural Association provides a vetted list of appropriately trained and insured tree professionals to support with the care and management of trees in private ownership.

The Council has no authority to intervene regarding private disputes relating to trees however it recognises that some of its more vulnerable residents may need to be supported to initiate discussions with their neighbours. In cases where a resident is vulnerable (either through age or disability) initial enquiries will be made via the Council’s Community Protection Service to support a reconciliation between both parties. This is a discretionary service and it is recommended that all other disputes relating to trees in private ownership should be mediated via the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.