Tree felling is a process of removing old, damaged or diseased trees. In the last few years storms and strong winds seem to be a regular occurrence. If you live in London, you might have read stories and seen trees that get damaged and become dangerous for the surrounding buildings, cars and people. It is often very tall and large trees that fall victims to bad weather with full trees or large branches falling on pedestrian areas, causing injuries to people. If you use public transport in London, you know how often fallen trees cause obstructions on roads and rail tracks, causing severe delays.
This is where experienced tree surgeons come in. Highly trained experienced tree surgeons have to handle complex tasks. It is a job that requires physical strength, ability to react fast and assess risks with engineering precision.
Tree surgeons based in London have to perform tree felling almost on a daily basis. As much as everyone understands the importance of keeping London green, trees grow old, become damaged and pose a threat to people and buildings. Space issue and proximity of neighbouring buildings in London and other densely populated areas make tree felling a particularly challenging task that requires specialised training.
Different techniques can be used depending on the space available around the tree. The tree surgeon should be able to decide if a directional or sectional method is the safest one to use.
The directional method is faster, but it replies on having sufficient area around the tree to fell the tree in one piece. This is rarely possible in large cities. The sectional method is the one that most London tree surgeons would have to use all the time. It involves dismantling the tree into sections and lowering them to the ground using ropes and other devices. This method should not be attempted by anyone without proper professional equipment and training as it can be dangerous due to the height and the weight of the tree sections involved.
The first step an experienced tree surgeon would do is assess the risks involved. These are just a few points that a professional London tree surgeon should take into account and discuss with you:
More often than not trees grow within close proximity of buildings, their branches can stretch to overhead lines and could potentially fall on glass conservatory roofs, fences or pedestrian areas. Often there are obstacles under the tree and great care needs to be taken not to cause damage by lowering a branch or the whole tree at a wrong angle. Neighbours’ permission should always be obtained if the tree felling is likely to require the tree surgeon’s access to another property. Occasionally there is a danger that the work might affect public areas. In this case a council’s permission will be required to close off the areas that might be at risk.
It is not always possible to carry out the work in unfavourable weather conditions. Strong winds and heavy rain can make performing the job unsafe for the tree surgeon as well as increase the existing risks of damage to property and people nearby. Even direction and strength of the wind can play an important part, making the tree surgeons work a lot harder or even impossible.
Before tree felling, the tree surgeon will assess the condition of the tree, to see if there are any dry or broken branches that can potentially be dangerous. Pets, age of the tree or disease can change the density of the trunk and damage the structure of sections of the tree. These sections might need to be handled in a different way to the rest of the tree.
Birds and Nests
Tree surgeons will take account of any birds and nests that might be active. All birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 so if there are any active nests, tree felling might have to be delayed. Cutting down a tree or a shrub that has birds nesting in it is an It is an offence that carries penalty or even imprisonment.
Many areas in London are Conservation Areas and Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) might be in place. This means that a permission to remove the tree or do the work might be required from the local authorities. If the tree is dangerous these restrictions do not apply, but sufficient evidence needs to be collected to that effect before any work is undertaken. It is always advisable to get the council’s permission to avoid incurring penalties, which can be quite heavy.