Trees, hedges and verges

Essex County Council is responsible for many aspects of local environmental services relating to trees, woodlands and hedges.

Planting trees and hedges

Essex County Council works with local communities to support and fund the planting of trees and hedges. If you’re interested in planting trees and hedges in your local area, contact us.

Tree preservation orders

Tree preservation orders protect certain trees from loss or damage. Before pruning or felling a tree, you should check that it’s not protected by an order.

Damaging a tree that’s protected by a tree preservation order without the consent of the relevant authority is a criminal offence carrying a fine of up to £20,000. Local and district authorities are responsible for tree preservation orders so all requests should be made to them.

Trees in conservation areas

Trees in conservation areas are also protected. If you want to cut down or carry out work to a tree in a conservation area, you’re required to give your district or borough council six weeks’ prior notice.

High hedges

Your district or borough council has the power, under Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, to investigate complaints about evergreen hedges, provided all other avenues for resolving your issue have been exhausted.

The role of the local authority is not to mediate or negotiate between the complainant and the hedge owner but to adjudicate on whether – in the words of the act – the hedge is “adversely affecting the complainant’s reasonable enjoyment of their property”.

If they consider that the circumstances justify it, the local authority will issue a formal notice to the hedge owner setting out what they must do to the hedge to fix the problem and by when. Failure to carry out the works required by the local authority is an offence which, on prosecution, could lead to a fine of up to £1,000.

Trees or vegetation on footpaths and roads

Trees or vegetation encroaching upon or impeding safe use of a footpath or road should be reported through the Highways fault reporting page.

Trees on verges

Different authorities are responsible for maintaining trees on road verges in Essex, depending on where the tree is.

Essex County Council is responsible for maintenance of trees in:

  • Braintree
  • Brentwood
  • Castle Point
  • Chelmsford
  • Maldon
  • Rochford
  • Tendring (except for the towns of Clacton, Frinton and Walton)
  • Uttlesford

If you encounter a problem in one of these districts or boroughs, report it to us.

District or borough councils are responsible for trees in:

If you encounter a problem in one of these districts or boroughs, please report it to them directly.

Print this page