So you’ve had a section 154 notice…

Section 154 of the Highways Act 1980 (‘the Act’) gives the highway authority powers to require the removal or cutting back of trees, shrubs and hedges that obstruct or endanger highway users.

As you can see in the example below the conifers on the right were obstructing the speed limit sign and the footpath at the time this photo was taken.

The highway authority, in this case a local council, had issued a section 154 notice to the land owner, who contacted The Tree Fella® seeking a quick resolution.

While no specific guidance is given in the Act, it is generally accepted that the minimum clearance should be 2.4m over a footpath and 5.05m (16’ 6”) over a road (measured from the centre line).

As a guide, these minimum clearances should be sufficient to allow a 2m person with an umbrella (or a single standing Tree Fella with their helmet on 😁) to walk unimpeded along a footpath; and a double-decker bus to travel along a road; without hitting any overhanging branches.

As you can see above this section 154 notice also addressed the obscured signage, which being a speed limit is usually viewed as a endangering. Therefore, our client had a duty to carry out works to make it safe if it is considered to be a danger to users of the highway.

With good schedule management, a hardworking team, and well serviced equipment we were able to respond to this within 48-hours of instruction, ensuring the council were satisfied when they reinspected the site the following week.

Our client was able to fulfil their duty and respond to the notice in a timely manner.

But, what about protected trees?

Well, one of the exemptions for the need to submit a formal application (for trees subject to a tree preservation order) or a ‘Notice of Intent’ (for trees growing in a conservation area) is where the work involves ‘the cutting down or cutting back a tree in line with an obligation under an Act of Parliament’.

In this instance, we can provide a professional answer as to what’s necessary to appease the risk to the highway users, and determine the minimal works required inline with the exemption.

If you receive a section 154 notice – make The Tree Fella® your first call.