Skip to main content

Trees play an important role in cities and improve our quality of life in many different ways. Trees especially in urban areas provide many environmental, social, health and economic benefits.

Trees play main part in sustainability and improvement of air quality. Trees absorb pollution, reduce noise by acting as a sound barrier and improve physical and emotional wellbeing. A healthy natural environment also helps society to cope with the impacts of unavoidable climate change. Proactive tree planting can naturally cool the temperature in towns and cities. Tower Hamlets Homes manages and care for over 5000 trees.

Our goal is to care and protect these and to make sure that they are safe and healthy. We also want to increase the number and variety of trees on our estates. A specialist skilled contractor carries out all our tree work.

We also work closely with Councils’ Biodiversity Team to enhance habitats for wild animals and pollinators. Part of this initiative is also planting of fruit orchards and installation of bird and bat boxes.

Tree on street by estate
Tree on street by estate

Tree management

Trees can sometimes be a contentious issue with some people asking for them to be cut back and other not to touch them at all. As a result we base the tree works on the findings of the specialist tree survey the results of which form the work programme. This also means that we can manage risk and budgets more effectively.

We currently have 3-5 year cyclical tree programme. This means that every 3-5 years a specialist contractor surveys all our communal trees. We then carry out any work identified from the survey within 5 years based on priority. We also hold a digital map and record of every estate tree and this is regularly updated.

We have also duty to maintain natural looking and diverse landscape.

We arrange an urgent work if the tree is dangerous due to:

  • Tree is snapped or blown over
  • Tree is rocking - roots are damaged
  • Tree uprooted but held up by another tree or building
  • A large branch has broken off or is hanging off the tree
  • Tree or branch is blocking the road or footpath
  • Tree or branch is blocking access to property
  • Tree has fallen on to house or car

Signs that a tree may be a risk to people or property but the risk does not need an emergency response:

  1. Tree is dead
  2. The tree is dying - few leaves in summer or dieback in the crown
  3. Bark is loose and falling off
  4. Mushrooms or fungi growing on or near the tree
  5. Old splits and cracks in the trunk or large branches
  6. Smaller branches or twigs falling from the tree

Other reasons for tree inspection and/or tree work:

  1. Diseased tree including Massaria
  2. Oak tree infested with caterpillars
  3. Tree touching a structure
  4. Street light obstruction
  5. Traffic sign obstruction
  6. Tree and crime or anti-social behaviour
  7. Trip hazard

We do not carry out works following reasons such as:

  • Birds droppings,
  • Blocking of the light,
  • Blocking of view,
  • Shedding of leaves or blossom,
  • Production of sap,
  • Shedding of fruits, berries or nuts
  • Poor TV or satellite reception (unless affecting communal aerial)
  • Personal medical complaint
  • Tree overhanging property
  • Wild animals
  • Insect and pest
  • Tree considered too big or too tall

New trees

Tower Hamlets Homes wants to maintain and increase the tree cover across its area. Currently we plan our annual tree planting in accordance to available resources. Sometimes we have to remove a dangerous or diseased trees. We carefully consider every felling and take this approach only on recommendation by an arboriculturist. We replace tree lost due to felling or natural causes with a new tree within 2 years in the same or a nearby location. The planting season is from November to March and we chose native species from a recognised local supplier. By this we ensure that trees are free of diseases and suitable for our estates. New trees are 2 to 4 metre tall which make an immediate impact and are more resilient to vandalism.

Bird Nesting

The Bird Nesting Season runs from February until August and it is recommended to carry out tree outside of the nesting season. As this is not always possible, our contractor does a pre works survey during the nesting season. We do not carry out tree works on trees where there are active birds’ nests.


It is sometimes unavoidable to carry out heavy pruning or pollarding of a tree. The best time for pollarding many trees is in late winter or early spring but due to the large number of our trees this is not always possible. We do mainly pollard London Plane trees and these are very tolerant of this method.

To contact us:

Large tree at estate entrance
Large tree at estate entrance