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Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council's responsibilities

Hedges, trees, etc growing along boundaries within the highway are usually owned by adjoining landowners. However we are responsible for the efficient management of trees in our ownership.

Landowners' responsibilities

Owners are responsible for trees/vegetation etc growing on their property and have a duty to keep these cut so that they do not obstruct the use of the highway. Usually trees, hedges, vegetation etc are maintained to an acceptable standard. However occasionally landowners have to be reminded of their obligations and we have powers under Section 154 of the Highways Act 1980 to give notice to carry out maintenance works on trees and other vegetation which have been allowed to grow and overhang and can affect the safety of the highway. Property owners will be given sufficient time to carry out remedial work before being served with a formal notice.

Height Clearance

Pavements - 2.1 metres. There should also be sufficient width to allow the safe passage of pedestrians, pushchairs, wheelchairs etc

Roads - unless there is a Traffic Order in force restricting the size or height of vehicles that can use a particular road, 5.2 metres height clearance shall be maintained to allow sufficient clearance for vehicles that might ordinarily be expected to use the road to gain access.

Street lights

Owners must ensure that no foliage obscures streetlights as this affects ground level illumination. Vegetation should also be cut back to allow access to doors in lighting columns as maintenance work is necessary at regular intervals.

Tree roots

Roots from private trees can also grow through the boundary of properties and damage pavements and roads. The owner of the property is liable for the cost of any repairs to pavements and roads.

Dead or dying trees

We have a responsibility to keep highways open and remove possible dangers such as dead or dying trees. If the landowner fails to take action, in appropriate circumstances we may remove the tree and recover the associated costs.

Fallen trees

To report a fallen tree on a road or pavement please use our Online Report Form, or contact us using the details at the bottom of this page.

Before arranging any work to be carried out to your tree:

  • Always contact us to ensure that trees are not protected by a Tree Preservation Order, planning constraints or whether the tree is within a Conservation Area.
  • Always employ a suitably trained professional tree surgeon that is covered by Public Liability Insurance (ask to see a copy of this). Professional tree surgeons should always have some form of professional identification and proof that they are qualified to carry out the work (again, ask to see these). Never employ house callers or leaflet droppers claiming to be professional tree surgeons.