West Northamptonshire Council takes its tree ownership responsibilities very seriously and may take action against unauthorised planting or vandalism against its trees. Any unauthorised works to trees, will be treated by the Authority as vandalism, with the exception of ‘Common Law Right’. To find out if the trees are owned by West Northamptonshire Council contact us.
You can only remove any parts of a tree that overhang your property, but only from inside your boundary. You have no legal right to remove anything that does not overhang the boundary of your property.
- A tree surgeon should be consulted when pruning back any part of a tree that overhangs your property, unless the pruning can be reasonably carried out with hand secateurs.
- Before carrying out any work you should also find out if the trees are protected by a Tree Preservation Order or are in a designated Conservation Area.
- If the trees are protected then you will need to gain consent by making an application and giving notice to the council. For more information on how to do this please email Planning.NBC@westnorthants.gov.uk.
- You should speak with your neighbour before pruning any overhanging branches and offer to return any that are pruned back to your neighbour, as legally you do not own them. It is most likely that your neighbour will ask that you dispose of them yourself but it is good practice to ask them first.
- If the overhanging branches belong to a Council owned tree then you should dispose of the pruning’s yourself and not return them to Council owned land.
- By carrying out any work to a tree as above, the person takes responsibility for their actions. Should injury/ damage or failure of the tree occur, as a result of such action, the person who carried out the work becomes liable.
For the avoidance of doubt it is always good practice to check with the Council on every occasion and please request our FAQ fact sheet for further details.
Veolia manage and maintain trees which are on Council owned land and adopted highway.
For health and safety issues where there is risk to life or if there is a branch/tree blocking a road, please call us on 0300 126 7000
Our tree policy
Download our tree policy for lots of information about trees and tree maintenance in the borough.
Frequently asked questions
We have a factsheet:
Veolia will carry out leaf removal across Northampton on Council owned land and adopted highways within a prescribed schedule, which usually runs between November and January. To ensure they are able to visit all areas, please allow them time to complete their schedule before reporting leaves for removal.
If you do see an area that has been missed after this time you can use our online form . Do not report tree issues on this form.
The Town and Country Planning Acts make provision for the protection of significant trees in the urban environment. Most of these are privately owned.
Trees may be protected in three ways under the planning acts:
- by tree preservation orders (often abbreviated to TPO)
- because the tree stands in a conservation area
- by a special condition attached to a planning permission.
Trees may also be protected through restrictions written into the deeds of a property. This is usually a private matter, however, where we are unable to help.
Tree Preservation Orders in Northampton
You can see existing Tree Preservation Orders on our interactive map. Click on 'trees' on the left-hand menu and tick the 'Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)' box.
Apply for a Tree Preservation Order or a Hedgerow Removal Notice
To apply for a Tree Preservation Order or a Hedgerow Removal Notice we firstly recommend you to contact our Arboricultural Officer for advice, Please call 0300 126 7000 and select the option for Planning & Building Control or email Planning.NBC@westnorthants.gov.uk
Some advice for private tree owners
- Always contact the local authority to check whether the trees are protected by a Tree Preservation Order, planning constraints, or being within a conservation area.
- Always employ a suitable trained professional tree contractor, who is covered by public liability insurance(always ask for proof).
- Never employ house callers or leaflet droppers touting for tree work.
- Reputable tree contractors will always have some form of professional identification and qualification proof. Always ask to see it.
- Reputable tree contractors can be found in the Yellow Pages.
Trees within development sites
Applications for planning permission on sites where trees of amenity value may be affected by the development should be accompanied by a tree survey.
Tel: 0300 126 7000