Safe Tree Planting near Highways: Finding the Right Distance

Safe Tree Planting near Highways: Finding the Right Distance

Planting trees near highways is a great way to enhance the beauty of the surroundings and improve air quality. However, it is crucial to find the right distance to ensure safety for both drivers and the trees. This video explores the importance of selecting the appropriate distance for tree planting near highways.

Planting trees too close to the highway can obstruct drivers' visibility and pose a risk of accidents. On the other hand, planting trees too far may not effectively mitigate pollution and noise levels. Finding the right balance is essential to create a safe and sustainable environment for everyone.

Watch the video to learn more about the considerations and guidelines for safe tree planting near highways.

Planting Trees near Highways: What's the Safe Distance

Planting trees near highways is a common practice that brings numerous benefits, such as enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the landscape, providing shade, reducing noise pollution, and improving air quality. However, it is important to consider the safe distance between trees and highways to ensure the well-being of both motorists and trees.

Trees near highway

The safe distance for planting trees near highways depends on various factors, including the size and species of the tree, the speed limit of the road, and the specific conditions of the site. Generally, it is recommended to maintain a minimum distance of three meters for shrubs and small trees, and five meters for large forest trees, from the edge of the road.

Why is the safe distance important?

The safe distance between trees and highways is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it ensures that the branches and foliage of the trees do not obstruct the visibility of motorists or impede the safe passage of high-sided vehicles. Crown-lifting the trees to a height of at least 5.2 meters allows for the unobstructed movement of vehicles and prevents accidents caused by branches hitting passing vehicles.

Crown-lifted tree

Additionally, maintaining a safe distance helps in reducing the risk of tree branches encroaching on footways and footpaths. By crown-lifting the trees to a minimum height of 2.5 meters and ensuring a width of at least 1.2 meters for footpaths, safe passage for pedestrians, including those with mobility aids, is ensured.

It's important to note that these recommended heights and widths serve as acceptable standards, and any vegetation below these thresholds may be considered an obstruction. In such cases, authorities may enforce Section 152 of the Highways Act (1980) to ensure the clearance of any obstructions.

When planning tree works near highways, it is essential to consider the seasonal variations in tree growth. Wet, leaf-laden branches may droop lower than in their leafless state during winter, potentially causing hazards for motorists. Therefore, it is advisable to account for this drooping effect when determining the safe distance between trees and highways.

Tree preservation orders and conservation areas

Before carrying out any remedial works, landowners should check whether trees are subject to tree preservation orders or located within conservation areas. Tree preservation orders are legal protections that prevent the cutting down or removal of specific trees without prior permission. Conservation areas aim to safeguard the character and appearance of designated areas and may have additional restrictions on tree works.

Hedge maintenance

In addition to trees, hedges are also important features of roadside vegetation. Hedges should be appropriately trimmed for highway safety or as part of regular maintenance. Flailing should be avoided unless the hedge has been managed in this manner for at least five years. Trimmed hedge cuttings should be promptly cleared from carriageways and footways to prevent punctures and tripping hazards.

Trimmed hedge