Tree planting restrictions

Trees can cause damage if they're too close to our sewers, water pipes and other assets. Sometimes, this results in the removal of the tree. That's something we want to avoid as much as possible.

Follow our guidance to make sure any trees you plant won't impact our networks.

Tree and plant distance requirements

When planting trees, shrubs and bushes on site, you need to think about how far the mature root systems and branch canopies will grow.

There are set safe distances for root systems and tree canopies. The distances are different for each species.

It's important to follow these distance requirements. They exist to protect our water and waste pipes.

Tree and plant species

Minimum distance from assets

Poplar and Willow 12 metres
Large for forest trees such as Oak, Ash, Beech, Sitka spruce, Douglas fir 10 metres
Medium sized trees such as Elm, Horse Chestnut, Lime, Oak, Sycamore, Apple, Pear and most Confiers 6 metres
Large shrubs such as Blackthorn, Broom, Cotoneaster, Elder, Hazel, Laurel, Privet, Quickthorn, Snowberry, and most ornamental flowering shrubs used for screening 2 metres
Soft fruit bushes such as blackcurrant, raspberries and gooseberries Less than 1 metre, providing a path to the asset is kept clear


These measurements are only a guide. If you are unsure, speak to a specialist and discuss your plans with our Asset Protection team.

You should carry out detection surveys and dig trial holes to confirm the location of any assets before you plant any trees, bushes or shrubs.

We will charge you for any damage and repairs to our assets, caused by inappropriate planting.

Contact the Asset Protection Team

The Asset Protection team help commercial developers to understand and plan what needs to be done when working near our pipes and other infrastructure. 

You can contact the Asset Protection team by email and phone.

The team are available:

  • Monday to Thursday: 9am to 5pm
  • Friday: 9am to 4.30pm

Please leave a voicemail if you're unable to get through to the team or call outside office hours. We'll do our best to get back to you the next working day.