Danger warning over ‘towering’ 70ft trees which could kill people and damage property

Firefighters dealing with a fallen tree. A councillor fears lack of management could lead to property being damaged and people being injured or even killed.
Firefighters dealing with a fallen tree. A councillor fears lack of management could lead to property being damaged and people being injured or even killed.

It is “only a matter or time” until someone is killed or injured by a falling tree in County Durham.

That’s the warning issued by a county councillor over a council policy to limit its management of trees.

Coun Joe Makepeace made the claim at a meeting of Durham County Council’s corporate overview and scrutiny management board.

He said: “Our policy is not to crown trees any more, but we must have trees which are 70ft high and they’re towering over people’s properties.

“It’s only a matter of time before one of those falls and we’re saying someone has been injured or killed or their greenhouse has been broken.

“We’re not managing our trees.”

Coun Makepeace was backed by Coun Liz Maddison, who said she had also received several complaints about trees on public land “causing problems”.

Coun Rob Crute, the panel’s chairman, agreed it was something councillors should look into further.

Responding to the concerns in a statement after the meeting, Steve Bhowmick, Durham County Council’s environment and design manager, said: “Our trained staff carry out inspections of individual trees.

“Their key considerations during these inspections are the safety of people and properties nearby and the health and stability of the trees.

“We carry out pruning where the inspection finds it is necessary.

“This is all in line with our tree management policy and current arboriculture guidance and best practice.”

James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporting Service