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Cambridge City Council

Tree inspection and maintenance programme

Trees contribute greatly to the character and beauty of Cambridge.

They are not only integral in providing cleaner air, filtered storm water and lower city temperatures, but also create an important habitat for birds and insects.

Streets, parks and communal open spaces in our housing estates filled with trees can have psychological benefits for residents, reducing stress and providing spaces for relaxation and contact with nature.

For these reasons, Cambridge City Council continue to manage our trees sustainably and in according to best practice.

Trees found growing in our parks and green spaces, communal housing areas as well as those along highways are managed on a proactive three yearly cycle. The cycle is based on the city being split into three geographic ward-based areas. Each area is given priority in turn, and brought up to a predefined standard once every three years.

There are some areas however that are not part of this cycle and are managed by other council teams. These areas are:

  • Car parks land – for Parking Services;
  • Development sites – for Development Control;
  • Housing tenanted land – for City Homes; and
  • Other Council owned land – for Property Services

Proactive tree maintenance cycles

Below, you can see we are next due to be inspecting and conducting our routine tree maintenance.

Street and Housing trees

  • 2019/2020, 2022/2023 and 2025/2026 - Castle, Coleridge, Market, Newnham, Petersfield, Romsey and Trumpington
  • 2020/2021, 2023/2024 and 2026/2027 - Abbey, Cherry Hinton, Queen Edith's and West Chesterton
  • 2021/2022, 2024/2025 and 2027/2028 - Arbury, East Chesterton and Kings Hedges

Parks and open spaces trees

  • 2019/2020, 2022/2023 and 2025/2026 - Abbey, Romsey and Cherry Hinton
  • 2020/2021, 2023/2024 and 2026/2027 - Arbury, Castle, East Chesterton, Kings Hedges, Newnham, Petersfield and West Chesterton
  • 2021/2022, 2024/2025 and 2027/2028 - Coleridge, Market, Trumpington and Queen Edith's

What work is included as part of the maintenance cycle?

We will inspect trees to make sure they are in a safe and healthy condition, and order tree works to fix any issues identified.

The works involved as part of the three yearly maintenance cycle will typically include but are not limited to:

  • Removal of lower basal growth
  • Lifting of canopies over roads, cycle-ways and footpaths to allow people to pass beneath the tree
  • Pruning back from buildings to achieve a clearance of approximately 2 metres
  • The removal of deadwood and broken branches
  • Cutting a clearance so any telephone wires are not excessively disrupted
  • Any other works that are considered necessary to address health and safety concerns

The overall width and height of the tree crown will not be greatly changed during these works unless it’s required to meet our maintenance standards, or address structural concerns we may have following an inspection of the tree.

With regards trees where branches may overhang footpaths, cycleways or roads, when pruned we aim to achieve the minimum clearances below. 

As it is anticipated that the tree will grow back, please note that we cannot guarantee the following clearances will be kept at all times.

  • Footpath – 2.4 metres above ground level
  • Cycleway – 2.75 metres above ground level
  • Highway – 3.5 – 5 metres above ground level (depending of road usage)

Service related queries

For questions about a service we provide, please use our contact us form