Tree and hedge management

Aragon Direct Services carries out tree management services on our behalf. They are also responsible for dealing with enquiries related to our tree stock.

Aragon Direct Services play a lead role in delivering the Trees and Woodland Strategy and our commitment to protect, plant and maintain trees and woodland within Peterborough.

We promote sustainable systems of management with the aim of:

  • Maintaining or enhancing the tree population
  • Facilitating the removal of dangerous or potentially hazardous trees
  • Promoting biodiversity and conservation of the tree and woodland eco-system
  • Conserving veteran trees with significant ecological, historical and amenity value
  • Establishing a tree population with a balanced diversity of age class
  • Optimising the use of timber and other products of tree management

Trees and Woodland Strategy

Full Council approved our Trees and Woodlands Strategy on 17 October 2018. It forms part of our major policy framework.

The strategy is an update of the 2012 document which was extremely effective in putting in place clear process and guidance as to how we will not only discharge our statutory functions in relation to trees and woodland, but also our guidelines, or 'service standards', in respect of this important resource.

The 2018-28 strategy builds on the success of the current strategy, but also provides further clarification on what service we offer.

We have drafted the strategy taking into account the following key principles:

  • Fulfilling our statutory duties, including health and safety
  • Being as clear as possible where we will and will not provide service
  • Recognition of the vital importance of trees and woodland to our communities, quality of life and ecosystems services
  • Our financial constraints

View the Trees and Woodlands Strategy 2018-28 (opens PDF on Microsoft Sharepoint).

View the appendices to Trees and Woodlands Strategy 2018-28 (opens Microsoft Sharepoint).

Tree safety or nuisance

To meet our duty of care under the tree related legislation and case law, we carry out cyclical inspection and maintenance of all trees under our ownership.

On occasions, we may undertake additional one-off inspections. This depends upon:

  • Tree health and condition
  • Concerns reported to us by residents

We are very grateful to receive enquiries relating to any of the following issues:

  • Tree collapsing or uprooting
  • Splits and cracks in trunks and branches
  • Broken branches in crown
  • Deadwood in crown
  • Bracket fungi appearing from on or around the tree
  • Obstruction of access or sightlines (i.e. visibility)
  • Branches touching or damaging buildings
  • Root damage to walls, surfaces and paving
  • Subsidence damage

Proactive tree maintenance cycles

On our behalf, Aragon Direct Services undertake a routine three-year cyclical Tree Management Programme. This is for the majority of trees growing on council-owned land, excluding shelterbelts.

Shelterbelt trees are those typically growing as large groups / woodland that are generally located parallel to a road or footpath.

All trees, except those classified as 'young', will be brought up to a standard by minor pruning:

  • To facilitate access beneath the tree crowns over footpaths, cycle ways and carriageways
  • To clear sightlines to traffic signals, road signs and speed cameras from obstructing branches
  • To clear street lamps and telephone wires
  • To remove deadwood
  • To maintain clearances between a tree canopies and buildings

Young trees (classified as those trees still on a stake) will:

  • Receive stake maintenance
  • Receive formative pruning
  • Be removed if dead (and scheduled for replacement in the next appropriate planting season)

No significant removals or major pruning operations will be undertaken in these proposals unless subject to the relevant consultation protocol detailed below.

Comment on planned tree work

Tree work schedules list all planned maintenance work proposed for individual trees or in an area. Typical work can include pruning to facilitate access, improve visibility or maintain clearance from a building, and removal of dead wood.

Our Trees and Woodlands Strategy explains the different types of maintenance work we carry out. It also explains our policy on tree removals and the consultation process we go through before any work commences.

We will identify all trees due for removal, outside of those undertaken on an urgent basis, with a notice posted on the tree.

Schedules are made available below for public comment for up to 14 days before work is due to begin. If you wish to comment, please contact us.

We won't consider comments received after a schedule's closing date.

Suggest a location for planting a new tree

We visit every area of the city every three years to replace trees we have removed, and to plant new trees.

Find out more about why we plant trees and current progress (opens Story Maps Arcgis website).

Please let us know if you think you have found a good spot for us to plant a new tree.

You might think the open space near where you live would benefit from more tree cover. Perhaps you'd like to see more greenery on your street.

The only condition is that we must own the land. If it's privately owned land, you'll need to speak to the owner instead.

We might not be able to fulfil every request, either because of technical or funding restrictions, or as a result of a consultation. We're happy to consider all suggestions.

Tree watering

We have an established tree watering programme with a full-time member of staff kept busy throughout the summer months watering newly planted trees across Peterborough.

Key to successful establishment is to ensure newly planted trees receive regular watering, especially during prolonged dry spells. However, even with a watering programme in place we may struggle at times to keep up with the demands of the young trees.

This is where we would welcome any help from interested residents and would actively encourage people to assist with some watering where they can. Any watering is helpful but there is some advice we would like to offer:

  • Tap water, rainwater or even washing up water can all be used but please make sure no chemicals stronger than washing up liquid are in the mix as these may harm or kill the young trees
  • It is best to give one good drink per week but during very hot weather the trees may need more, ideally give one or two watering cans per watering
  • Any help watering is great but ideally it is best to water either early in the morning or in the evening to reduce the amount of water lost through evaporation
  • All our street trees are planted with a black plastic tube wrapped around the root ball to allow water to be applied directly to the roots. Please use this but if it is easier, gently pour the water around the tree base over the roots letting it slowly soak into the soil
  • While watering is important, too much is often as much of a problem as too little. If the ground is very wet and becomes saturated, please save your water for a drier spell. Roots sat in very wet ground for prolonged times can rot reducing the amount of water the tree can take in when things turn drier
  • Encourage your neighbours to help, the trees are for everyone to enjoy

The Queen's Green Canopy Project

Following the death of Her Majesty The Queen, and the wishes of our Patron, His Majesty The King, The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) initiative will be extended to the end of March 2023 to give people the opportunity to plant trees in memoriam to honour Her Majesty.

The Queen's Green Canopy Project

The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Everyone across the UK is invited to plant trees from October 2021, when the tree planting season begins, through to the end of March 2023.

The Queen's Green Canopy will create a network of individual trees, avenues, copses and whole woodlands in honour of The Queen's service and the legacy she has built. This will create a green legacy of its own, with every tree planted bringing benefits for people, wildlife and climate, now and for the future.

Further information is published on The Queen's Green Canopy Project page on the Cambridgeshire County Council website.

Woodland management

Bretton Woodlands Management Plan

In 2013, a 20-year Woodland Management Plan was prepared for Bretton Woodlands and, after wide consultation, was adopted and implemented. The plan involved sensitively restoring coppice working in the woodlands to improve the structure and wildlife potential of the area.

This led to the establishing of Nene Coppicing and Craft; a community volunteer group that has been responsible for carrying out much of the work. Other work completed during the period has included improving footpaths and access to the woods and carrying out enrichment planting of native species .

The 2013 plan made provision for 5 yearly reviews. The review that has been produced details progress that has been made during the period and also problems that have arisen.

A key change that has occurred during the period is the spread of ash dieback to the Peterborough area and into the Bretton Woodlands. This fungal disease has the potential, over time, to kill the ash within the woods which is a serious problem given that ash forms a major constituent of all three woods.

The review sets out a new management strategy aimed at making the woodlands as resilient as possible by removing failing ash in small areas spread across the woods and replanting with a wider range of native broadleaved trees. The method is designed to limit the landscape impact of disease. The revised proposals will not eliminate ash but over the next five-year period gradually introduce a wider range of species. The small clearance areas will be cut in two phases: half in year 6 and half in year 10. The slow implementation of the strategy will allow time to establish the level of tolerance to ash dieback that may exist in the woodland ash population.

If no management is undertaken, it is likely that the woods will become too dangerous for public access. The character of the woods in the landscape would change dramatically. More open conditions would see an increase in regeneration of non-native tree and plant species and a marked deterioration of wildlife habitats within the woods.

Continuing community support is particularly important in the next five years to help maintain Peterborough’s only Ancient Woodlands for the benefit of future generations.

We consulted on a draft management plan from 5 February to 2 March 2019. All comments were considered as detailed within the following spreadsheet and the plan modified where appropriate. A final plan was subsequently produced which will be implemented over the coming five years.

High hedges

Details about how to complain about a high hedge are available on the noise and nuisances page.