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The problems of trees

Whilst trees benefit us all, there can be problems are for the landowner. Trees can sometimes come into the legal or planning process.

The problems of trees

Some of our houses are built on shrinkable clay, this combined with shallow foundations means a large nearby tree can soak up all the water in the summer, the soil shrink and cracks appear (which close up in the winter).

Sometimes this has been made worse by residents paving over their front gardens and so the tree naturally seeks water from elsewhere. Cracks are not always a problem as a house may be used to this for many decades and sometimes the felling of a tree can mean the clay gets very wet and expands and heave is caused which can be more damaging.

Loss of light is also a problem to some householders. In both cases we prefer the landowner to accept his/her responsibilities towards the general population and pay for appropriate maintenance and thinning rather than felling.

Services can be protected by root deflection systems which are best put in when the tree is planted

Garden trees and planning

Many RCAS members live in one of the 3 conservation areas (Redland, Cotham & Gloucester Rd, Whiteladies Rd and Downs).

Being a property owner in such an area brings certain responsibilities, some legal. Changes to the properties and trees means that the benefit to the owner must be balanced by any loss of amenity (usually visual) to the general public. This is managed through the planning process and any works to trees (more than 75mm in diameter) must go through the Council’s Planning Process as a S211 notice.

For maintenance e.g. pruning or thinning this is usually a formality but for proposed fellings generally someone from RCAS will come and inspect the tree and assess its visual amenity to the general public and send in a report.

RCAS Members are entitled to see any reports regarding their property or a tree nearby. Occasionally Clive is even asked to mediate informally between neighbours (members) over a tree dispute; providing both parties with all the information is often enough for them to settle their differences.

This is done free of charge so don’t expect too much!

Council trees...

Currently the council (unlike residents) don’t have to notify us if they are going to do tree works to trees on their property (e.g. streets and parks).

This can lead to disgruntlement when a favourite tree disappears without notice or trees are severely pollarded.

We are not happy with this lack of communication and are lobbying councillors and making representations through the Bristol Tree Forum to correct this matter.