Residents call for Derby City Council to take responsibility for its trees

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A review is expected to be ordered into Derby City Council's tree maintenance policy after councillors said they were inundated with complaints.

The council's policy for dealing with overgrown trees was tightened in December.

Appeals to increase light to people's homes or remove overhanging branches will now not be considered.

But councillors said trees are among the most complained-about issues and are planning to hold a review.

Labour councillor Barbara Jackson, chair of the council's neighbourhoods commission, said: "We do get some real problems.

Problems the council will not deal with

Tree in silhouette
  • Leaves falling on properties
  • Poor television reception
  • Darkness caused by large trees
  • Branches overhanging homes
  • Bird droppings or aphid residue
  • Shade falling on solar panels

"The branches are very close to their windows and we have elderly people having to put their lights on at about three o'clock in the afternoon".

She added: "It's a real concern to councillors."

Public's responsibility

At a meeting in December, councillors from all parties expressed concerns over the clarification of the tree policy.

The following day, the Conservative and Lib Dem-run council decided to reduce the annual budget for tree maintenance by £50,000.

The authority will prune or take down unsafe, diseased and damaged trees and those clearly damaging buildings.

But it said the public had to take some responsibility for trees, adding that there is a common law right for people to prune trees which overhang their property.

Ian Wheatley, responsible for grounds maintenance at the council, said: "Trees are a very contentious issue.

"We're trying to clarify our tree management policy so people know exactly the sort of work the council will and won't carry out on trees."

He added: "Very often the tree was there before the house was."

'It gets you down'

Rena Powell, who lives in Littleover, paved her entire front garden after the tree on her road caused her too many problems.

She said: "Nothing would grow in it because the tree roots apparently give off a toxin.

"I wish I could take this bungalow somewhere else. I don't want to move but it makes you feel like that. It gets you down."

The council's neighbourhoods commission is expected to launch a review into the policy at a meeting on Tuesday.

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