Moor Park’s trees contribute greatly to the attractive ambience of the Estate, a feature often commented on by visitors and residents. The Company looks after 2897 trees, with 791 of them on the verges. In addition, there are hundreds of trees of many different species in Members’ gardens – they are Members’ and not the Company’s responsibility.
In 2010 the Company commissioned a survey to define the work required to sustain the trees and to help formulate policies to maintain their high visual impact for the future. A subsequent (2012) Tree Strategy Report provided recommendations for future maintenance and planting policy. The survey identified a backlog of safety and maintenance work which has been carried out over the last three years. Annual tree work is now settling down into a regular cycle of replanting to replace diseased trees or inappropriate species.
Trees, whether on the verges or in gardens, are protected because they are within the Moor Park Conservation Area. Some trees have additional protection from Tree Preservation Orders. As a result of these protections, permission is needed to lop or fell any tree with a trunk diameter greater than 75mm (3 inches) at 1.5m (5 feet) above ground level. To obtain permission, both the Company and residents (in the case of trees in their gardens) have to apply to Three Rivers District Council in writing. No work should be undertaken until permission has been received or at least six weeks’ notice has been given to the Council. Emergency work may be carried out but it is up to the resident to prove that the work was necessary to preserve the health of the tree or to avoid danger. No consent is needed from the Company for work on trees on one’s own property.
The trimming of hedges or shrubs does not require permission. Work is also permitted on a line of trees, which has been pruned as a hedge. However, work on a line of trees not pruned as a hedge still requires consent. Members should take note of the guidance provided by Three Rivers District Council on the height of hedges. Hedges should be kept lower than 3 metres high. If a resident has concerns about a neighbour’s hedge that appears to be excessive in height, it should first be resolved by discussing it with one’s neighbour. But if residents cannot reach an amicable agreement, Three Rivers District Council should be contacted.
Trees on the verges are the property of the Company and are looked after by the Company on a continuing basis. These trees may not be pruned or felled by anyone other than contractors employed by the Company.