Trees

Benefits of trees

These are just some of the benefits trees bring to our urban environment:

  • a mature tree can provide enough oxygen in a year for the needs of 10 people
  • trees help to improve air quality by trapping pollutants and toxic particles
  • trees absorb harmful gases such as carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide
  • trees provide shelter and shade
  • trees slow down wind speed and reduce air turbulence around buildings
  • trees soften the harshness of the urban landscape
  • research has shown that people recover from illness quicker if they can see trees and green areas
  • trees improve the appearance of the borough, attracting both residential and commercial investment.

Tree maintenance

The council has professional tree officers who regularly inspect trees to ensure that they are safe, in good condition and to pinpoint any work requirements.

Specialist tree contractors are employed to carry out all appropriate tree maintenance to trees owned by the council.

If you have any queries or would like advice about tree care and maintenance please use the details below to get in touch with us.

Emergency tree works

We operate a 24-hour tree emergency service for council owned trees, or for private trees that have fallen onto council owned land. This service is for dangerous trees, such as trees with large hanging branches, where a tree is in danger of falling or has actually fallen.

For emergencies between 9am - 5pm, please telephone the tree section on 020 7364 3282

During the hours between 5pm - 9am residents should use the out-of-hours emergency service on 020 7364 7070. 

Privately owned trees

Advice for private tree owners.

  • Prior to carrying out any work on a tree always contact the local authority to ensure that the trees are not protected by a Tree Protection Order, planning constraints or that the tree falls within a conservation area.  "Further details and forms can be found on the Planning Services’ Tree Management web page".
  • Always employ a suitably trained professional tree surgeon, who is covered by public liability insurance, ask for proof.
  • Never employ house callers or leaflet droppers claiming to be professional tree surgeons
  • Reputable tree surgeons will always have some form of professional identification and qualification proof. Always ask to see this.

Do

  • inspect your trees regularly
  • ask for advice if you are concerned about anything
  • ask for advice about fungus or cavities
  • check for dead or broken branches that may be dangerous if they fall.

Don't

  • carry out unnecessary pruning
  • alter the ground level under a tree, including the excavation or building up the ground
  • build near a tree
  • burn any rubbish or bonfires near a tree. 

Tree protection

The development, design and conservation team is responsible for trees that are covered by Tree Preservation Orders, or those that are present within a Conservation Area.

Through Tree Preservation Orders we give legal protection to certain trees or woodland. A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historic interest.

TPO Consultation

The Council has recently sought to protect 15 plane trees to discover more click here.

Programmed tree plantingPlanting trees

Tower Hamlets Council is using a number of innovative strategies to increase its tree population. This is achieved through a range of partnership agreements with the third sector, such as Trees for Cities and Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.

A thousand standard trees have been planted in the borough's streets and parks over the last 5 years and, in addition, a considerably higher number of young whips have been planted throughout the borough.

The programme is based on replacing mature trees that have been removed, planting avenues of trees along streets which previously had none, and carrying out planned planting in parks and open spaces.

Please get in touch with us if you would like trees along your street.

Nesting birds

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 protects wild birds from being disturbed during nesting. We are fully aware of this act and will not knowingly start work on a tree where birds are nesting.

Trees on red routes, housing estates and housing associations

Transport for London is responsible for the maintenance of trees on red routes.

For trees in council housing estates, please speak to your local housing office. For trees on property owned by a housing association, please speak to your housing association. 

Frequently asked questions about trees

When will the council owned trees be pruned?

The majority of council owned street trees are pruned on a three- five year cycle. Trees in parks will be pruned according to their individual requirements. Additional tree works may occasionally take place if a tree is found to be dead, diseased or dangerous.

Do you have a tree planting programme?

We have an annual tree planting programme. The programme includes all council owned land and is not restricted to street tree planting.

If you are aware of any empty tree pits, or would like to suggest a new site for planting, please let us know.

I would like to have a tree removed. What should I do?

Trees owned by us are normally only removed if they are dead, dying, dangerous. For trees that are privately owned the owner should always contact the development, design and conservation team as the tree may be covered by a Tree Preservation Order, or exist within a conservation area.

Should I contact you about pruning or felling a tree in my private garden?

Trees in private property can be subject to Tree Preservation Orders, or are protected as part of a conservation area. Prior to carrying out any work on a tree, always get in touch with the council's development.

Contact us

Parks and Opens Spaces
Mulberry Place (AH)
PO Box 55739
5 Clove Crescent
London
E14 1BY

Office opening hours are: 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday

Tel: 020 7364 3282
Fax: 020 7364 3286

Email: Edward.Buckton@towerhamlets.gov.uk