8. Obstruction to views and CCTV
In the past 20 years the UK has seen extraordinary growth in the use of CCTV, many individuals or companies employing their own. This sometimes results in the desire to cut or fell trees to maximise the coverage provided by cameras and conversely that trees are reducing the effectiveness of CCTV. Installing more cameras or the relocation of obscured cameras should be investigated as a possible solution.
Research has shown that high canopy trees did not encourage crime. Even where vegetation reduces natural surveillance, residents have a higher sense of safety in areas of high density tree planting. The reasons for this are that tree planting contributes to a sense of ownership and that this leads residents to care for the area. The benefits that trees provide to people's mental health and wellbeing have been widely researched. Patients that have a view of a natural setting recover more rapidly and natural features reduce stress and aggression.
The council are unable to prune or remove trees simply due to the obstruction of private surveillance cameras.
The general legal position is that there is no right to a view. However, there may be exceptions to this, for example, where a restrictive covenant is in place.
Given trees are physical objects they will restrict views to some degree, but this tends to be outweighed by the positive effects of trees.
The Council would only carry out works where necessary to comply with a restrictive covenant.