What you should do

If you think a tree that you own is dangerous you should first contact a specialist tree consultant or contractor.

In law you do not need the permission of the Council to cut down a tree that is dead, dying or dangerous. However if you are proposing to cut down a tree included in a Tree Preservation Order or in a Conservation Area we advise you to give us five days written (or email) notice before carrying out the work, except in an absolute emergency.

If work is carried out to a protected tree, you or your agent must be able to prove that the tree was dead, dying or dangerous and, if it came to a prosecution case, to prove this in court. This can be done using photographs, keeping sections of decayed wood, and any other relevant evidence.

You must also be mindful that bats are a protected species and often live in dead/hollow trees. There is more information in this Guidance on Bats leaflet.

What if you are not the tree owner

If you do not own the tree and you think it is a danger to the public please see our information on council owned trees.

Tree Contractors and Consultants

These tree contractors and consultants are regularly employed by the Council to carry out tree work within the Oldham Borough. It does not constitute a list of recommended firms.

Limb to Limb Tree Services Ltd
4 Hillcroft
Tel; 0161 6526340
Mob: 07734805881

Blakeman’s Tree Services
Ferney Fields Farm
Ferney Fields Road
Tel: 0161 6333037
Mob: 07779132390

Blythe Tree Services
Andy Hall
195 Mount St
B7 5QN
0121 328 0089
07811 339 733

Common concerns 

The tree is too tall, too big, it has a broad crown
A tall tree and/or a broad spreading crown does not, of itself, make it a dangerous tree. Trees will grow depending on their type and on the presence of external influences such as adjacent structures, natural competition from other trees, soil type and fertility or microclimate.

The tree sways when it is windy
A tree swaying in the wind does not, of itself, make it a dangerous tree. Trees will naturally bend and sway in the wind, as the pliability in the branches is a natural mechanism that helps prevent fracture.

The tree has a lean
A tree that has grown with a lean does not, of itself, make it a dangerous tree. The tree develops fatter growth rings on one side to make it stable. There is likely be a problem, however, if a previously vertical tree suddenly develops a lean.

The tree is hollow
Some hollow trees may have so little healthy tissue surrounding the hollow area that they must be regarded as dangerous, but this is by no means the norm. Trees do not become hollow overnight - it can take decades - and while the centre of the tree (the heartwood) may be decaying, the tree continues to lay down healthy wood (sapwood) around the outside of its trunk. This results in the formation of a cylinder, the strength of which depends upon the percentage of healthy to unhealthy tissue. Inspection by an expert is recommended.

The tree might be diseased
If you think the tree might be diseased and dangerous please report it to the Planning team. Ash dieback is a particular issue in Greater Manchester.

Dangerous tree or defective tree?

Most trees have defects, but the vast majority do not render a tree dangerous. Defects may include minor dead wood where squirrels have stripped bark or minor decay pockets where bark has been damaged and the tree has suffered bacterial or fungal infection. It is the type and extent of the defect that is important in determining whether or not a tree is dangerous.You can meet with the Planning Officer and Aboribultural Officer on site to discuss applications and ask advice.

What to do if you think a tree on land neighbouring your property is dangerous?

Once you are sure of your facts we suggest that you should notify your neighbour of your concerns by first speaking to them and then following this up in writing (we suggest that you keep a copy of the letter) and ask that he/she address the problem. If he/she does not take appropriate action and damage occurs from negligence then you (or possibly your insurer if you make an insurance claim) may be able to take action against the tree owner. You may wish seek your own legal/insurance advice in such cases.