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Trees - General Guidance

You are entitled to cut back any overhanging tree branches or vegetation which encroaches upon your land, to your boundary (as long as the tree is not protected by a Tree Preservation Order or in a Conservation Area).

Unfortunately, the Council will not consider: -

  • Issues surrounding lack of light
  • Trees blocking view
  • Issues with overhanging branches – unless dangerous
  • Fruit or leaf issues including slippery surfaces or blocking drains
  • Sticky ‘goo’ or `honeydew` on cars
  • Satellite/TV signal (It is up to the supplier to provide adequate signal, not the Council to prune or fell any healthy trees to allow a signal to be received)
  • Trees that are too tall or sway in the wind (unless dangerous) see Dangerous Trees

Trees and Cables

We do not cut back trees for Utilities or BT, the residents affected need to contact their provider / utility company directly to report the issue as they have their own contractors to maintain trees where cables are located.

RCT Highways will deal with trees in the following circumstances:

  • Trees obscuring vehicle sight line at junctions
  • Trees within head/ eye height on/ over footways
  • Trees fallen across the Highway/footpath

Public Rights of Way

Any Trees affecting access on a Public Right of Way (PROW) Footpath, Bridleway or Byway, should be reported to our Countryside department, via our cusotmer services centre.

RCT Public Rights of Way 

Street Trees

We pollard the trees planted within the street scene to control the size to a manageable height, which also reduces the size of the root growth needs of the trees.

Species are selected which can tolerate the three-year removal of minor tree branches back to a single stem.

Street trees were historically planted to improve the appearance of the urban landscape but have been proven to reduce pollution.

Street tree pollarding is on a 3 year cycle between Rhondda, Cynon and Taff. (trees growing from the pavement and along the highway only) if required.

These entitlements and guidelines are replicating National Tree guidance and unless the trees are deemed as dead, diseased or dangerous we are not obligated to carry out tree work.

If a tree is growing from Council land and touching a property or causing damage, we normally ask the resident to submit photographs to us and we will review and perform any obligatory tree work if evident on site. see Dangerous Trees

Trees on Private Land

If a tree is under private ownership, it would be up to the landowner to decide what they want to do with their the trees - within certain limits :-

  • If the trees are under a Tree Preservation Order(TPO) they would need permission from the Councils planning department to carry out any works to TPO trees.
  • If the trees are in a conservation area, they would need to give 21 days notice to Councils planning department of any works planned for the trees
  • If they are felling (chopping down) more than 5cubic metres of trees they may need a felling licence from NRW (Natural Resources Wales)
  • Any other tree works from February to July should be avoided, unless essential, due to bird nesting season, as nesting birds are protected by law

Cutting back to your boundary

If the tree is not protected or in a conservation area you are able to cut back any overhanging branches and vegetation to your boundary. This includes the whole tree from the canopy to the roots. We strongly recommend you seek professional guidance from a suitably qualified person before cutting back, as roots or large branches can potentially cause significant damage to the parent tree and potentially cause it to become dangerous.

Anyone responsible for this work could be found liable for any damage caused resulting from these actions.

Any tree cuttings, from an adjacent property are to be `offered back` by law, as it is the landowners property, however, in the case of residential offerings, we do not recommend throwing the branches back into the adjacent property unless the landowner is happy to receive them, we normally advise that the arisings from the tree work should be disposed of appropriately.

Tree roots and structures

Roots of trees do not exert enough pressure to dislodge the modern footings of heavily loaded structures like houses. Occasionally they may affect lighter structures like garden walls.

Your first call should be to your home insurer, informing them of the issue and they will investigate this. If a tree is found to be the cause of the damage, your insurer will contact the landowner (private /Council) to advise what must be done to resolve the issue.

Bird Nesting

The bird nesting season is generally assumed to start at end of February until end of July and birds and their nests are protected by law. During bird nesting season we would not recommend anything other than essential tree work to be carried out during this time.

The police are responsible for enforcing part I of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, often advised by Natural Resources Wales and will investigate wildlife offences; Further advice may be sought from Natural Resources Wales or South Wales Police.

Bird Nesting Guidance

Planning applications

You can check all planning applications online –including TPO and conservation area tree work requests.

You can also email