David vig qw HHOC2z5 Xs unsplash

Tree management policy

Our vision is to create great homes together. We recognise that this includes the communal areas and gardens of our properties, and as such the trees growing within them. We understand the immense amenity value and importance trees have in enhancing our homes and communities both visually and environmentally. They are important to both our health and well-being.

We have a legal responsibility to manage and maintain trees growing on land we own ensuring a safe environment for customers, colleagues and third parties.

The aims of this policy are to:

  • Ensure compliance with all relevant legislation relating to trees
  • Provide clear lines of responsibilities for the management of tree safety
  • Set out the principles that Magna will use when identifying what works will be carried out
  • Ensure that our tree portfolio remains healthy and sustainable

This policy relates to trees that are growing within the communal areas of land we own and manage, including our sheltered, supported and general needs estates, along with our offices and garage sites. We have passed the responsibility for maintaining trees within customers’ gardens to the individual customer, in accordance with their tenancy agreement. As such these trees are not included within the planned inspection and maintenance programme.

More detail around how we manage our tree portfolio is set out in our Tree Management Procedure.

Policy statement

We operate a risk-based approach to tree management, in line with the guidance produced by the National Tree Safety Group. Trees will be inspected on a regular basis through a combination of visual inspections and more formal tree survey inspections.

The frequency of the tree survey will be determined by the risk zone they fall within, with those identified in a high-risk area surveyed within every two years and those in a low-risk area surveyed every four years. We will work with professional tree consultants to carry out the surveys and where possible use the same consultants over time to benefit from their direct knowledge of our tree portfolio.

We will try to retain trees wherever possible unless the risk is too great, or the cost is prohibitive. Recommended works arising from the tree surveys will be programmed in to achieve best value. Essential works will be carried out on trees that are dead, dying, diseased, dangerous, causing or likely to cause damage to property, obstructing the highway, or as part of Magna’s maintenance programme.

Non-essential works will not actively be carried out. This includes issues around blocking natural light, leaf or fruit fall, sap or bird droppings, satellite, tv or other communications, or solar panels. We will ensure our tree portfolio remains healthy and sustainable, replacing felled trees and increasing our stock over time. The replacement species will be determined by the principle “right tree, right place.”

We will inform customers of their responsibilities regarding trees in their gardens before sign-up and, where necessary, during their tenancy. We will regularly remind customers of their responsibilities in relation to trees and offer inspections should anyone report concerns. Any concerns raised by customers for trees in non-communal areas will be investigated accordingly and, as such, these trees are only surveyed reactively.

Finance

We will look to recover the cost of tree surveys and any works carried out to our communal trees through service charges, where appropriate, and in accordance with our Service Charge and Sinking Fund Policy.

In exceptional circumstances, we may assist customers to manage trees within their own gardens that are dead, diseased, dangerous, or causing damage to property. We may seek to recover some, or all, of the costs incurred for these works from the customer through a re-charge.

Legislation

We will work with the relevant Local Authority in respect of works required to trees that are protected through a Tree Protection Order (TPO) or fall within a Conservation Area, as outlined in the Town and Country Planning Act (1990). This includes trees within customers’ gardens, where we will liaise with our customers if notified of proposed works.

We will abide by the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981)ensuring that nesting birds or bats are not disturbed by programmed works.

Where our trees abut a highway, we will ensure that they do not obstruct either the highway or signage, in line with the Highways Act (1980).

Responsibilities

The Director of Customer Operations is the accountable person in relation to all aspects of tree management at Magna and is responsible for the development and review of the Tree Management Policy, ensuring that this meets all regulatory requirements and guidance.

The Head of Maintenance Services is responsible for overseeing the compliance of the operational Tree Management Procedure that links to this policy, whilst the Estate Services Manager is responsible for its delivery.

Governance, Performance and Review

The policy will be considered and approved by Executive Team every five years in line with the policy review timetable.

Any changes in regulatory or legislative guidance that impact this policy, will result in a review.