Trees are an important part of Bexley’s identity as a green London Borough, and Bexley’s ‘Urban Forest’ is key in improving the urban environment for people as well as wildlife by providing urban cooling, reduced stormwater runoff and cleaner air.
With climate change and more pressures on our tree stock, the Council seeks to conserve as many of its trees for as long as possible, therefore only essential tree work is undertaken, and trees are removed when they are dead, dying, dangerous or causing unacceptable damage to private or public property.
If you are reporting a tree that you feel is immediately dangerous, or a tree/limb has fallen and is blocking the highway or path, please call 020 8303 7777 24 hrs.
The Council inspects all its highway trees once every three years and has a risk-based survey system for parks and woodlands, depending on their location. Each tree is considered individually, the extent of work raised by a Council Tree Officer based on the species, condition, location and the previous pruning history. Each tree is inspected for signs of severe health decline, decay or other signs of structural defects that indicate the tree could pose a significant risk to people and property. All tree works are carried out by a third-party specialised contractor on behalf of the Council.
The Council does not prune or remove trees for the following reasons:
- leaf / seed / fruit fall (autumn leaf and fruit clearance is carried out as part of the highways cleansing service)
- shading / lack of light
- sticky sap / insects / bird mess / squirrels / other wildlife issues
- poor TV / satellite signal
Outside of a tree’s inspection cycle, the Council will prune or remove trees:
- that are dead, dying or dangerous
- causing an obstruction
- proven to be causing unacceptable direct damage to property
- to enable approved planning permissions / new road/infrastructure schemes
Report a tree issue
Tree planting and felling
The Council aims to replace felled trees and increase the overall number across the borough. Unfortunately, trees are felled that pose a significant risk to people or property or show signs of serious infection. The table below shows the number of trees planted and removed since 2016.
|Highway trees planted||147||32||288**||242*||303||241||0|
|Highway trees felled||184||252||240||275||199||189||176|
|Parks trees planted||146||2||147||148||91||10||0|
|Parks trees felled||145||138||205||245||243||108||no records|
* 56 trees planted as part of Bexleyheath town centre improvements
** 129 trees planted as part of Harrow Manor Way improvements
The Council is not responsible for trees in private ownership, including schools and is unable to assist in tree issues with neighbours. Trees on private land are the responsibility and liability of the landowner. If the owner of the tree is not known, a search can be made through the Land Registry.
However, where a tree is shown to be a danger to a public road or footpath, the Council has powers under the Highways Act 1980 to require the owner to take action to make the tree safe.
In seeking work or advice on a private tree matter, always request proof of ‘public liberty insurance’ before allowing individuals or companies to work on your trees. The Arboricultural Association has details of approved tree surgeons and consultants.
Trees are essential for people, wildlife and the environment. If you are interested in planting, please take a look at one of the following websites, where you will find advice on how, when and where to plant trees.