Tree spotting

Information recently recieved from East Sussex Highways Authority

East Sussex Highways are currently undertaking a tree safety survey along all the U- (Unclassified) roads in the county. You may therefore notice some spray painted dots on trees in our parishes. The dots signify that a safety defect has been spotted and that remedial works have been recommended for the tree. This may be that the entire tree requires felling, having dead wood removed, or could be simply to monitor the tree further. The colour of the dots do not denote anything different, it simply depends on what colour is in stock.

In Brightling, we have just three U-roads (roads that are officially classified as “unclassified”): Kent Lane/Mountfield Lane; Brickyard Lane; and Willingford Lane. So these are the roads that are being surveyed this year; our C-roads and our only B-road, the B2096, will be surveyed in subsequent years.

Both private trees and trees owned by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) along these roads are being surveyed and marked as required. If a private tree is marked, East Sussex Highways (ESH) will notify the land owner and make them aware of the works that are necessary on the marked tree(s). However, ESH will also suggest that the land owner has the rest of their trees adjacent to the highway privately assessed for other issues. If the trees are owned by ESCC they will be entered into a works programme. ESH cannot specify what works are required on individual trees as to do so would take up a lot of time, so please pass on the information above if anyone asks about tree marking or felling within our area. If the owner of the tree contacts our parish councils instead of ESH directly, they will be written to by ESCC with instructions and, until they receive a letter, there may not be any further information available to pass to them. The survey results are sent in monthly, so information on trees surveyed and marked may not yet be on the ESH database at the time of an enquiry.

Tree with red painted dot

ESH will aim to carry out works within the time frame given by the surveyor, which may include traffic management such as traffic lights or possibly road closures. They will always aim to minimise disruption to road users where they can do so safely and efficiently. Trees that are felled will only be felled if a high risk is associated with the fault detected – the risk can be increased by the level of occupancy of the road. Trees will not be felled if they are healthy or showing no significant faults, ESH will always leave what they can and carry out other remedial works such as thinning or reducing if it prolongs the tree’s life in a cost effective way. However, they may have to remove healthy trees if leaving them increases a risk of them being subject to windthrow/exposure. This does happen, especially with groups of ash which are generally shallow rooted and tend to grow very tall very quickly due to density.

ESH will be aiming to survey sections of the network annually, i.e. urban trees, A roads, B roads, C roads and U roads to ensure that they are resurveyed a minimum of every five years.

If you have any further questions, please get in touch with Anthony Becvar, Tree Health Officer, East Sussex Highways. Tel: 01273 335087, Mob: 07557 541801, Email: anthony.becvar@eastsussex.gov.uk