How the Council manage the borough's trees

14 September 2023 3min read

Sefton Council is assuring residents that the removal of trees is only ever as a last resort and in the interests of public safety.

There are estimated 120,000 street, park and green spaces, crematoria and coastal trees that are under the management of the Tree and Woodland Team, which consists of three qualified tree officers with a combined experience of over 50 years in urban tree stock management.

The tree stock that is managed by the Tree and Woodland Team is inspected cyclically between two and five years depending on where the tree is located, for example trees in busy roads with high traffic volume are inspected more frequently than trees in cul-de-sacs.

And during inspections, the tree officers carefully consider:

  • Any works necessary to the tree with regards to any Health and Safety risks the tree may pose (such as low branches, dead, decaying or dying trees) or needed to release pulled BT cables (branch tips that brush against BT cables don’t fall within this category);
  • the priority that should be assigned to any recommended work;
  • the amenity value of the tree(s), their positive contribution to the urban environment.

Health and Safety is the highest priority and tree work or removal is only undertaken when it is necessary in the interests of public safety, such as the felling of dead trees or the removal of trees with a serious structural defect. All tree work is carried out by a specialist external contractor.

Also included as priority are the removal of very low branches that impede the safe use of the highway, branches that block light columns, obscure road signs or pull tight telephone wires.

Reasons for a tree to be removed include:

  • Tree is dead;
  • Tree is in decline; it has been monitored and it has been noted to be in decline for a few years and there are no signs the tree will recover;
  • Tree has become structurally unsound due to disease;
  • There is no engineering solution to make the pavement safe. The tree is then deemed to have outgrown its location and therefore needs be removed.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “Sefton is a clean, green and beautiful place to live and the Council is dedicated to maintaining its green spaces which includes looking after 120,000 trees in the Borough’s parks and lining its roads and highway.

“We can assure residents that while the decision to remove a tree is never taken lightly, the safety of residents is paramount. Where a tree is posing a threat to the highway or properties we need to take action.”

Recently, the decision was made to remove 28 ash trees on Preston New Road in Southport in response to tree fungal disease, Ash Dieback, which is affecting ash trees throughout the UK. The trees highlighted for removal were either dead or had severe decay. And after years of monitoring, the trees were showing no sign of improvement.

The Council’s expert Tree and Woodland Team regularly work with partners and attend training to stay up to date with the latest research and information on tree stock management.

People can find out more about the Council’s tree management by heading to: Trees in Sefton

And if residents have a specific tree question, they can email the team at

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