Chorley's problem trees will not be routinely chopped

Trees causing problems have previously been "severely pruned"
Trees causing problems have previously been "severely pruned"
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Residents in Chorley will no longer be able to request that the local council takes action to protect their properties from "perceived damage" caused by the roots of trees owned by the authority.

As part of an overhaul of its tree management policy, Chorley Council is also to stop responding to complaints about leaves and sap falling onto private land and trees which are interfering with television reception.

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The authority will continue to take take action where its trees are reducing light to a property - but only if the work can be done within the approved budget and provided it does not have a “detrimental” impact on the tree itself.

A meeting of the council’s cabinet heard that workers have historically carried out “severe pruning” in response to tree-related complaints from the public - but this was not deemed “best practice”.

Cabinet member for streetscene, Adrian Lowe, said the effect of the changes would be to “prioritise” work which needed to be done, while being “responsive to the budget position”.

The council has pledged to respond to urgent problems within 48 hours and will maintain a round-the-clock phone line for reporting concerns.

Papers presented to the meeting reveal that the number of concerns raised about trees in the borough leapt by almost a hundred to more than 750 during 2017/18.

The budget for the tree maintenance service stands at £80,000 - and has been underspent by around £10,000 in each of the last three years. However, members were told that Chorley’s tree stock is “maturing” and so likely to lead more issues being identified in the future.

A new inspection regime will also be introduced which will see all trees investigated for defects. Currently, only those whose location puts them at a high risk of causing injury are routinely inspected.

Under the new policy, trees close to buildings, well-used roads and footpaths, car parks, railway lines and recreational areas will all be inspected by specialist staff every 15 months. Those overhanging quieter areas will be visited between every three and five years, although other council staff working the vicinity of them will carry out informal inspections on a more regular basis and report any concerns.