Northern Powergrid

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Vegetation Management - Tree Trimming

Part of Northern Powergrid’s year round programme of activity is the vegetation management and tree cutting scheme.  This aims to safeguard electricity supplies by cutting back vegetation and trees that have the potential to make contact with overhead power lines and which in turn can cause unplanned power cuts.  Many of our overhead power lines carrying electricity are mounted on wood poles and steel towers and we find that particularly in high winds, heavy rain and snow, these weather patterns can cause branches to fall from trees or indeed move more significantly and make contact with power lines.  We also need to ensure that trees are kept clear of overhead power lines so they cannot be climbed or used to touch power lines to stop the chance of injury or risk of damage.

It is essential that we cut trees back so that:

  • Adverse weather does not cause any vegetation to make contact with our overhead power line network
  • Children and adults cannot come into accidental contact when accessing / climbing trees
  • A safe and secure supply of electricity is maintained at all times.

  • Northern Powergrid’s tree cutting responsibility

    Northern Powergrid is responsible for most costs associated with trimming trees and vegetation to achieve the required clearances between trees and the power lines.  There may be certain instances where we may charge for the works, but this will be made clear and explained, however our responsibility is to keep trees clear of our overhead power lines. 

    Our responsibility is to survey our overhead power lines on a regular basis and understand where tree cutting work is needed to maintain a safe and secure electricity supply, we will also obtain the necessary permissions with the tree owner to cut identified trees before any cutting works take place. We will plan our works in advance and undertake tree cutting works with as least disruption as possible and also clear away any tree material that has been cut leaving the site safe and tidy.

  • Q. Who cuts trees for Northern Powergrid?

    A. Northern Powergrid employ teams of highly skilled and trained service providers across our region, all of whom are specialist in their field and works to the high standards specified by the Arboricultural Association and to British Safety Standard 3998. 

    All our service providers carry identity cards.


  • Q. How much do we cut off trees?

    A. Northern Powergrid will always discuss tree cutting needs with tree and land owners and gain necessary permission beforehand, so tree owners will always be consulted. We do need to cut trees clear of power lines and when discussing specific cutting needs we shall offer advice and guidance in terms of tree growth rates, species types and consider the environment to establish necessary clearances that also keeps the tree limbs clear of power lines not just for the immediate future but for several years to come. 

  • Q. Why do we cut trees when they aren’t owned by Northern Powergrid?

    A. In the main trees are owned by private and public landowners, our responsibility is to keep these a safe distance from our power lines to ensure a safe and secure supply of electricity.  Where trees come too close to our power lines and present a risk then we shall need to undertake tree cutting works.

  • Q. What happens if you wish to cut trees yourself where they are close to power lines?

    A. We always ask you to seek advice from Northern Powergrid about safe working.  

    There may be instances where Northern Powergrid recommend that power supplies are isolated to allow tree owners who wish to cut their own trees safely near overhead power lines and this can be arranged.   In certain instances a charge may be made for this, however we would always discuss this in advance and advise if this were to apply.

  • Q. Will I be without power when tree cutting works takes place?

    A. We do all that we can to cut trees safely without interrupting your power supply, and in the majority of cases we are able to follow our safe procedures and methods of work to cut trees clear of power lines whilst power lines remain energised.  Occasionally it may be necessary to interrupt power supplies in order to complete the works safely.  If this is necessary, we will always notify you as far as possible in advance to allow you to make alternative arrangements for these planned situations but in addition we make sure we plan the works to minimise the disruption.  Unfortunately you may be without power for the time that it takes to cut the trees safely.  Information for vulnerable customers can be found here. Further information in relation to planned power cuts can be found here

  • Q. How long does it take to arrange tree cutting works?

    A. We regularly undertake a cycle of inspection and survey of our overhead power lines and we carry out our tree cutting programme over several years so as to constantly maintain and guard against trees growing too close to our entire power line network across our operating region.  It could be that although trees may look close to power lines we may have already surveyed them and they are already planned to be cut within the programme – this may be planned within the coming weeks, next few months and in some instances may be in the long term programme into another year.  If you believe however they do present a danger please do make contact and raise these with Northern Powergrid.  You can contact using our online form here.

  • Your support

    Northern Powergrid seeks your support and co-operation to enable the provision of a safe and reliable supply of electricity now and in the future.  One way you can support this programme is by reporting any issues where you have concerns regarding vegetation and / or tree near power lines. You can contact us using our online form here.

  • Enquiring about tree cutting works or concerns over trees close to power lines

    There may be occasions when you want more advice and guidance regarding trees being close to power lines or want to report a situation where trees are too close to power lines and you believe they present a danger.  In these cases please make an enquiry – and in these cases we shall arrange for our Service Providers to make contact with you, discuss any concerns or give advice and guidance.  You will be provided with a unique reference number associated with your enquiry.   If necessary we will arrange to visit you and will advise you of the best course of action to resolve your enquiry, will explain the next steps and leave you with contact details for any future reference.  In some instances it may be necessary to advance our programmes of works to ensure the safe clearance of trees where they have grown too close to our power lines, in other instances we may be able to advise that tree clearance work will be undertaken but can wait for the regular programmed tree cutting works to take place.  In other instances you may be satisfied with the advice and guidance received where no works are necessary at the time or where we are satisfied that the power lines are constructed of certain materials to be more resistance to tree contact and encroachment and present no risk.  

  • What to expect when you make a tree related enquiry:

    • Northern Powergrid will make contact with you to discuss the concern or query – this may be by phone, Email or where necessary may also be a site visit. 
    • Northern Powergrid will explain what works are required and give advice.  We will let you know what is expected to be done
    • Where vegetation and / or tree cutting is needed we will inform you of the date when this is to be done – where a planned power interruption is needed to undertake works safely you will also get a letter notifying you of the specific date and time for works to take place.
    • Northern Powergrid will keep you updated
    • Where identified we will undertake vegetation and / or tree cutting
    • After works are completed, we may contact you to seek your feedback to understand if your enquiry was completed to your satisfaction.