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Do trees block satellite signal?

Do Trees Block Satellite & TV Signals & what can I do About it?

It is a much discussed topic: do tall or bushy trees block the signal being received by your satellite dish or TV aerial? And if so, what can be done to resolve it?

The short answer to the first question is yes: trees can indeed be responsible for blocking satellite signals. It’s actually the leaves that are to blame, and wet leaves make things worse. This is why during bad weather, you’ll find your picture breaks up a lot more, or possibly even disappears altogether. The good news is that there are things that can be done about it.

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Why do trees block satellite signals?

Tree branches and leaves ‘bend’ a satellite signal. Certain frequencies can be affected more than others. This is why you can sometimes lose some channels but not others.

How to prevent trees blocking a satellite or TV signal?

There are two main solutions when you need to prevent a satellite signal being blocked, both of which involve creating a clear line of sight for the signal.

1.     Move the satellite dish or TV aerial

The first solution is to relocate the satellite dish or aerial further away from the tree, on the other side of it, or above it. This is the only solution if you are unable to cut back or cut down the tree.

Some trees are subject to Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs), in which case you will be unlikely be able to remove the tree altogether. You can apply to the local authority for permission to prune it, but be aware that this will take several weeks to be granted.

If you do go ahead and prune a tree that is subject to a TPO without first gaining permission, then this will be considered an offence under Section 210 or 211 of the town and Country Planning Act 1990.

“If you can’t cut back or remove a tree, the only solution is to relocate the satellite dish or TV aerial.”

Your satellite TV installation engineer should be able to advise you on the most ideal location for your dish and, if you are using a TV aerial, for example if you are watching television via Freeview, BT Vision, EETV or TalkTalk TV, then you are best advised to call in the assistance of a professional TV aerial installer so that they can site the aerial in the prime position for you so as to avoid any nearby trees.

2.     Remove or cut back the tree

The second solution is to remove the tree, or pollard it to reduce the canopy so that the volume of leaves is reduced. Again, tree removal is only an option where there is no TPO in place, and you may only carry out pollarding under a TPO with written permission from the local authority.

If there is no TPO in place and the tree is located on your own land, then you will usually be able to go ahead and either remove it, or prune it back.

Your satellite or TV aerial installation engineer will usually be equipped with technology that allows them to identify precisely what is blocking your signal, right down to the specific tree or trees or even particular branches. Once they have identified where the problem is, it’s just a case of dealing with the tree or trees in question.

“A satellite or TV aerial installation engineer will usually be equipped with technology that allows them to identify precisely what is blocking your signal.”

You are best advised to call in the services of a professional tree surgeon when carrying out any form of tree pruning. Whilst you will be keen to remove the branches of the tree that are causing you problems in watching TV, you will no doubt wish to ensure the health and aesthetic appearance of your tree is maintained. Randomly hacking off branches, especially at times of the year when tree pruning is not advised or using the wrong methods, could permanently damage the tree. A qualified tree surgeon will ensure the tree maintains a balanced appearance and is safe and healthy.

Tree removal is also best carried out by experienced tree surgeons. It is a process that requires expertise in working at height, and the correct qualifications and insurance are vital from a health and safety perspective.

What if a neighbour’s tree is blocking my TV signal?

Unfortunately, being a TV licence holder or TV or satellite subscriber does not give you any right to a television or radio signal, it merely allows you to own and use a receiver. Unfortunately there are no legal steps that can be taken to deal with a signal that is being blocked by a tree on neighbouring land.

You can however discuss the matter amicably with your neighbour. However, before you do so, you should check whether it is actually the trees that are responsible for the signal problem. Imagine if you entered into discussions with your neighbour, alleging that their trees were preventing your enjoyment of the TV, only to find that in fact there was in fact something wrong with your satellite dish or TV aerial or the way they have been set up? That could be very embarrassing!

It is therefore advisable to call in an approved satellite or TV aerial expert to assess the situation before taking any action. They may well tell you that the problem is down to the trees. If they do, it is a good idea to ask them for a written statement explaining that fact so that you can show it to your neighbours.

If you are wondering whether you are allowed cut back a tree on neighbouring land, have a read of our guide to your rights on trimming a neighbour’s tree.

Being a TV licence holder does not give you any right to a television or radio signal.

Will a signal amplifier or larger satellite dish improve my signal?

Signal amplifiers or larger dishes have their uses, but unfortunately they make no difference in situations where a tree is blocking the signal. The only effective solutions are the two outlined above.

What to do about a blocked satellite or TV signal?

If you are suffering problems with your satellite or TV aerial signal and you believe that trees may be responsible, take professional advice, first from a satellite or aerial professional, and then if they confirm the problems are down to the trees, talk to a qualified tree surgeon about how best to go about dealing with the issue. Ideally if possible, get both professionals to liaise with each other for best results.

TH Trees Ltd can assist with tree pollarding, pruning or tree removal to help you get your TV signal back up and running. We often work alongside satellite and TV aerial engineers with a view to getting the desired results.

For a free consultation and no-obligation quotation, and helpful advice from our qualified experts, please get in touch.

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