Trees in Shirley & Ashburton

Dear Cllr Chatterjee

Thank you for your enquiry.

For your information our arboricultural contractor is continuing with the ward inspection and works cycle that had to be delayed in the last financial year due to budget constraints. I can confirm that this work is solely for management purposes of the council tree stock.As with all tree owners the council has a duty of care to ensure that the tree stock is in a reasonable condition. It is council policy, as set by the councillors, not to remove healthy street trees. The only exception to this is when a tree is implicated in an insurance claim and the liabilities of keeping the tree are outweighed by the cost of repairs. Unless there is a technical reason not too, we endeavour to replant with a smaller species of tree that is less likely to be implicated in a repeated claim. Trees are removed if they are dead, dying or dangerous and the defects are beyond remedial pruning works. Due to financial constraints we do not prune trees for non-duty bound issues such as loss of light or loss of TV / satellite signal for example. All work carried out is based on arboricultural considerations in line with our legal responsibilities and any work carried out that benefits non-duty bound issues is an incidental benefit.

Amongst many other issues the Tree & Woodland section spends a significant amount of time dealing with and turning down requests for tree removal or inappropriate pruning to council owned trees. I note the residents’ concerns about the loss of trees, it is an issue that we are acutely aware of across the borough. Trees do have a finite life and a street tree does have a particularly tough environment in which it is expected to flourish. The tree stock is a defining character of this borough, however we do not have funds specifically allocated for tree planting. We do try to set aside funds from within current limited resources of the tree maintenance budget to plant approximately 500 trees per planting season which runs from November through to March. Regrettably this last financial year we had to plant less trees than our normal target due to budget cut backs. As tree planting is not a duty of care requirement it is unfortunately one of the first areas to suffer when cost savings are required. We do have a list of planting sites that we wish to restock and rest assure the areas you have highlighted will be added to the list, however it operates on a first come first serve basis and usually demand out strips the available resources so it may well take time for restocking to take effect. We would like to be in a position to replace like for like in the following planting season and ideally plant additional trees in suitable locations across the borough to maintain and even enhance the tree covered character, however in the current financial climate this is highly unlikely.


James Canneaux

Tree & Woodlands Officer

Place Department

Croydon Council

1st Floor

Public Realm Offices

Stubbs Mead Depot

Factory Lane


Tel: 020 8726 6000