Tree & hedge management


Tree management services are carried out by Aragon Direct Services, who are also responsible for dealing with all 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.

Sustainable systems of management are promoted 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

Tree safety or nuisance

In order to meet our duty of care under the tree related legislation and case law, we carry out a systematic and thorough inventory survey of all trees under our ownership.

Initial surveys are hoped to identify and address any safety and legal nuisance issues posed by council owned trees. The first cycle of the surveys will be carried out according to geography, the surveyors will move systematically from ward to ward. 

The timing of subsequent surveys will be evidence lead and will depend upon, for example, tree health and condition, or the proximity of targets. Additionally, 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
  • branches affecting service cables
  • root damage to walls, surfaces and pavings
  • subsidence damage.

A one-off inspection of the tree in question will be carried out and, where appropriate, maintenance work will be carried out.

High hedges

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

There are three separate woodlands that make up Bretton Woodlands: Grimeshaw Wood, Pocock’s Wood and Highlees Spinney. The woodland management plan sets out a policy that will ensure the integrity of the woodlands are preserved and that management will be on an ecologically sound and sustainable basis.

Tree planting

Where trees are regrettably identified for felling, excluding those thinned for sound tree and woodland management, Aragon Direct Services will undertake replacement planting. Every effort will also be made to increase future canopy cover by introducing new planting; placing great emphasis on the use of appropriate and suitable tree species.

Where a tree is removed, it is not always feasible and practicable to replace the tree straightaway and, in some cases, not always possible to replace the tree in the exact same position. However, where we have vacant tree pits on streets or in other suitable planting locations, these are added and logged to a planting list for future planting schemes.

Hidden underground services, cables and pipes buried beneath the ground can affect the viability of a site for planting and establishment, and this is always a significant factor which is assessed prior to planting.

Council tree planting proposals

Our planting season typically runs from November through to March and we focus on replacing street trees that have been lost in the previous year from the beginning of August through until the end of July.

As well as replacing trees which have been removed, we also aim to increase tree canopy coverage especially in wards with low percentages of overall canopy coverage.

Residents are being asked to suggest planting sites for trees which they can do so online. Here you can also find out more about the Tree and Woodland Strategy, tree planting progress and the benefits of trees and much more.

This seasons proposals are detailed below.

Please note: locations and numbers are subject to change and cannot be guaranteed.

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.

Trees and Woodlands Strategy 2018

The City Council’s Trees and Woodlands Strategy was approved by full Council on 17 October 2018 and forms part of the Council’s major policy framework.

The strategy was an update of the 2012 document which had been extremely effective in putting in place clear process and guidelines as to how the city council will not only discharge its statutory functions in relation to Trees and Woodland, but also its guidelines, or ‘service standards’, in respect of this important resource.

The 2018 strategy, builds on the success of the current strategy, but also provides further clarification on what service the council will offer

The strategy has been drafted taking account of the following key principles:

  • fulfilling our statutory duties (including health and safety)
  • being as clear as possible where the council 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.

Programme of tree works

In order to meet the council’s duty of care we carry out a systematic and thorough survey of all council owned trees.

The first full cycle of tree surveying is in progress, and will follow ward boundaries.

Please note: The Programme of Tree Works (folder) is not accessible due to a technical upgrade. We will update them as soon as possible.

Please note: A list of all planned tree maintenance work and notifications are available 14 days before work starts. If you wish to comment, please contact us.

Woodland management

Bretton Woodlands Management Plan Review 2019

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.

Peterborough City Council 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.

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 being invited to plant trees from October 2021, when the tree planting season begins, through to the end of the Jubilee year in 2022.

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.