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My tree is overhanging the highway, how far should it be cut back?

The tree should be a minimum of 50cm from the edge of the carriageway/footway.


I have received a letter asking me to cut back a tree but I am unable to cut it myself

We recommend using a skilled contractor to carry out work.   You can visit the Buy With Confidence website to find an approved tree surgeon.

Which Trees are East Sussex Highways responsible for?

We are responsible for the maintenance of trees on highway land.  Our trees are maintained when they become a hazard to the highway for example if they are dead, dying or diseased trees; trees which are blocking visibility or are considered a safety hazard.

Trees which are overhanging the highway from private land are the responsibility of the land owner.

 There is a tree / branch lying across overhead cables

We are unable to deal with trees or branches that are touching live cables.  UK Power Networks should be contacted to make sure that tree/branch is removed safely.

If the tree is affecting a BT line we will only intervene if the tree poses a danger to the Highway.

There is a tree / branch lying across overhead cables in Eastbourne or Hastings

Trees in Eastbourne and Hastings are dealt with by the borough council.  If you have any issues please contact them directly via the email addresses below.

I have a query regarding a tree preservation order (TPO)

Tree Preservation Orders are dealt with by District and Borough Councils.

Trees report »

What is Dutch Elm disease?

Dutch elm disease has killed millions of elm trees in the UK since its arrival in 1971.  In partnership with other local authorities, a control zone was set up in 1973 to limit the spread of the disease in East Sussex and the surrounding areas.  

  • East Sussex now contains the only population of mature English elms in the world

  • There are now many more elms inside the East Sussex zone than when the disease arrived.  this includes a number of large veteran elms

If you see a suspected case of Dutch elm disease, please let us know.  Vigilance and timely action by our Dutch Elm Disease control team is the only way of limiting the spread of this disease.  

What to look out for

During the summer and early autumn, infected trees can be identified by yellowing and shrivelled leaves.  Towards the tips of infected branches, the leaves will be brown as the infection gradually spreads down the infected branch.

The Forestry Commission website has information, including how to diagnose the disease.


Trees report »