Overhanging Trees & Vegetation on Road Reserve



Trees, hedges and vegetation that overhang into the road reserve, eg:

  • Overhanging trees and hedges; or
  • Spreading roots or plant; or
  • Lowering of trees, hedges fences or walls;

can cause accidents and injuries with pedestrians and vehicles.

How is this a problem?

  • If a tree overhangs the footpath, the visually impaired or children may not see the low limb and hurt themselves.
  • Tree roots or some types of vegetation may cause problems with the footpath and/or drains.
  • Visually impaired people may not see uneven paths and hurt themselves.
  • The vegetation can block drains that could lead to flooding problems.
  • Hedges or vegetation and fences alongside the road reserve can cause problems by obstructing the vision of vehicles, especially on corners or intersections on exiting out of driveways.

What can I do to prevent possible injury to road users and pedestrians?

Council may require the owner of any land adjacent to any road (along the whole frontage of the land) to:

  • Remove or trim overhanging trees/hedges.
  • Cut down or grub up plants or spreading roots to the middle of the road.
  • Lower trees, hedges, fences or walls which may obstruct the view of the traffic.
  • Keep trees, hedges and vegetation neatly trimmed to the boundary line of the road reserve area.

If you think a tree, hedge or fence is causing a visual problem, especially on corners, check with the Assets and Engineering Department for the height requirements.

When planting trees, hedges or other vegetation check before planting:

  • What their final growth is; and
  • What their final width is; and
  • If the plant has an invasive root system which can get into pipes under the ground; and
  • If leaves can block drains.

Plant information can be found in most gardening books – try the local library or the internet.

Council policy

Subsections [1], [9] and [10] of Section 355 of the Local Government Act 1974 are relevant to this issue.

Under Section 355, Council may require removal of overhanging trees etc:

[1]  The Council, may, by notice in writing require the owner of any land abutting upon any road within the district to do any of the following acts:

(a)  to remove, lower or trim to the satisfaction of the Council any tree or hedge overhanging or overshadowing the road in cases where, in the opinion of the Council, the removal , lowering or trimming is necessary in order to prevent injury to the road or obstruction to the traffic thereon or to any channel, ditch or drain appertaining thereto:

(b)  to cut down or grub up, as the Council directs, and remove all obstructions to traffic or drainage arising from the growth of plants or the spreading of roots upon or under the road up to the middle line thereof along the whole frontage of the land occupied or owned by him;

(c)  to remove, lower or trim to the satisfaction of the Council any tree, hedge, fence or to lower any fence or wall, if in the opinion of the Council the tree, hedge, fence or wall is likely, by reason of its obstructing the view, to cause danger to the traffic on that or any other road.

[9]  The Council may remove, lower, cut down, grub up, or trim, as the case may be, any fence, wall, tree, hedge or plant to which subsection [1] of this section applies, after giving oral notice to the occupier, to the owner, of the land, if life, property or any road is in imminent danger. The cost of the work shall be a charge against the land as if notice had been given under subsection [1] of this section and had not been set aside by a District Court.


Keeping the property neat can add value to the property and give the community a sense of pride.
You can help your community by ensuring safe and efficient access for vehicles and pedestrians on road reserve.

Page reviewed: 30 Mar 2015 1:49pm