Neighbours, Overhang – and the Disposal of Cut-off Branches

Disposal of Arisings

Postby dercetas » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:32 am

Now that some new people have joined this discussion, I thought that I would explain the precise issue in a little more detail.

The consensus here (more or less) is that both the law and common sense indicate that offering the arisings to the tree's owner is the right thing to do. But that's only Part 1 of my question – and Part 2 (largely undiscussed on this thread) is the important bit.

My particular interest is in who pays to dispose of the arisings if the offer is rejected by the tree's owner. I clarify the situation, because it is an unusual one.

The tall trees in question do not overhang a garden – that would make life much easier. They overhang the roof of a tall house that immediately abuts the tree-owner's garden.

The overhang can therefore only be dealt with from the garden of the tree-owner.

In the past the tree-owner has always paid for the work to be done. (Despair and others will consider that is the right thing to do.)

Owing to a change in circumstances, the tree owner is (rightly or wrongly) now reluctant to do this. She is saying: "By all means come into the garden and do the work. However I cannot cope with the volume of arisings that will result. So I propose to 'reject' your offer of the arisings."

The house owner is saying: "They're your branches. It's bad enough that I have to come into your garden and cut them back. That you then expect me to drag them out of your garden and dispose of them is adding insult to injury!"

Morally the tree owner may be on shaky ground (except perhaps in that the house-owner bought the house in the full knowledge that the neighbour's trees grew very close to it and that the issue was bound to arise).

But legally...?

Of course anyone sensible would advise common sense / reasonable behaviour / give-and-take ... but these are often easier to deploy when the participants are also apprised of the law.

(Note: It would be much appreciated if, as far as possible, replies to this question concentrate on the legalities rather than passing moral judgements on the two participants in this dispute...!)
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Re: Neighbours, Overhang – and the Disposal of Cut-off Branc

Postby Mattylad » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:45 pm

Your situation is nowhere near unique, this topic gets discussed on Gardenlaw quite often with the same answers.

In my opinion:
Irrespective of what the precise law may or may not say - If you cut them off you dispose of them.

If the tree owner has said they do not want them back then they are yours to dispose of.

Others may say leave/dump them in the tree owners garden but IMO that is as has already been stated by someone with legal knowledge that this is dumping and illegal.

Treeman may profess that he just places them in the original owners garden and nothing gets done about it, but then he and his colleagues are doing it as a business, they require a license to dispose of them and it costs them so it is to their benefit to just dump them in the garden of the person that originally owned them. Although I consider him an expert in cutting down trees I would also consider his opinion in the matter biased by the nature of his profession. That's not meant to be nasty to him - just that I consider him and others in the same profession to have a vested interest in not having to dispose of them themselves.

A tree grows, it spreads - this is the nature of trees. Unless the removal is because the branch is causing damage to a neighboring property, a property that was there when the tree was planted then IMO the person that cuts them off should also remove them.

If the house was not there when the tree was planted then IMO the house was placed in the wrong place.

If you have the facilities to cut them off then you have the facilities to but them up, make them smaller and dispose of them through your local recycling centre or using other means.
If they are big branches and suitable for cutting into firewood then someone from Freegle/Freecycle may come and remove the big branches for you to store until they are suitable for burning.
I doubt they will also remove all your smaller branches/arisings.

Circumstances can be so varied that IMO there cannot be a simple cut and dried answer to many questions like this, if the tree owner has previously done all the work and now cannot and cannot dispose of what you cut off the tree them IMO it is only right that you remove them. If they are not causing damage then the other option is to leave them there, uncut from the tree.

IMO Rather than try to fall back on the law, dispose of them yourselves.
Last edited by Mattylad on Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:48 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: Did I mention that this is all only in my opinion :)
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Re: Neighbours, Overhang – and the Disposal of Cut-off Branc

Postby despair » Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:04 pm

given the OPs furthur explanation if a tall tree is very close/overhanging the roof of a house the tree owner should darn well cover the costs of cutting back or face a bill for damage to the neighbours house

In this case it really is totally unfair to expect the affected neighbour to deal with or pay for it to be done
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Re: Neighbours, Overhang – and the Disposal of Cut-off Branc

Postby Mattylad » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:43 pm

It is also unfair to inflict costs onto the tree owner when it may not be causing damage.

We do not know if it is causing damage - The OP has only said "They overhang the roof of a tall house" and not that they are damaging it.

We do not know all the circumstances of what the situation is, the OP's neighbor has previously paid for the works but for some reason cannot now - we do not know the reasons behind this - as ever there is usually more behind every situation that we do not initially find out.

We do not know if the tree was there before the house was built underneath it.
People build houses without considering the trees beside them in neighboring property's all the time.

All we know is that the OP is cutting some branches off the neighbours tree and is asking what the legal situation is with returning them.
We do not know what type of tree or how big the branches are.

The OP wants to know the legal aspects which as have been explained are not cut and dried but as you can see has held some information back, inciting discussion and opposing views.

I await more information from the OP on what the situation is :wink:
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Re: Neighbours, Overhang – and the Disposal of Cut-off Branc

Postby despair » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:50 pm

I agree we need more info or a photo

But having had to cut back a hugepile of stuff from my neighbours trees/hedges today i am feeling pretty fed up that its me who has the cost of disposal

Either a long trip to the dump or a £80 a year charge for a green wheelie bin
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Re: Neighbours, Overhang – and the Disposal of Cut-off Branc

Postby TO » Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:09 pm

Hi

despair wrote:But having had to cut back a hugepile of stuff from my neighbours trees/hedges today i am feeling pretty fed up that its me who has the cost of disposal
Either a long trip to the dump or a £80 a year charge for a green wheelie bin
Should of left the branches on the trees and bushes then. Or is it a case of you want all the benefit but don't see why you should have to pay for it.

WILL*REMAIN*STRONG wrote:I would hope a court/judge could see that returning branches is the right thing to do. Why would any judge feel that someone footing the bill to maintain another person’s tree, should also foot the bill to dispose of what was a trespass in the first place.
Trees do not trespass, they encroach.

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A System

Postby dercetas » Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:52 pm

You are right, Mattylad, that situations are often a bit more complicated than they may first appear. In addition, simply dividing the participants in this kind of situation into "the good guy" and "the bad guy" can be a bit simplistic.

The trees were there before the house, which was a conversion from an old derelict building. The house was bought in the knowledge that there were tall trees immediately abutting and overhanging it. The tree owner in the past has done all the work cutting back the overhang. She now wants to invite the owner of the house to do it. Despair seems to take a dim view of this, while some of others here seem to see both sides.

There needs to be put in place a "system" that will work in the long term. There will need to be give and take. Before there is further discussion, however, it would be good to know the exact legal position about the arisings that the tree owner does not want – but which, in this unusual situation, will be arisings that come from the house owner cutting back the trees from and in the tree owner's garden!

Therefore the initial situation after the trimming of the overhang is that the arisings would be sitting in the tree-owner's garden...
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Re: Neighbours, Overhang – and the Disposal of Cut-off Branc

Postby WILL*REMAIN*STRONG » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:15 pm

One thing I would say, and it is a worth considering when getting into who 'is and isn't' responsible for these things. If a tree owner decides that they don't want you to have access to prune, don’t want you to lean ladders against their tree, the job would be far more difficult. Disposing of some branches is a small price to pay to be able to control what comes over into your air space.

Law or not, it is about doing the right thing, give and take, regardless of your feeling towards what another has growing in their garden.
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Re: Neighbours, Overhang – and the Disposal of Cut-off Branc

Postby despair » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:19 pm

If the house was built in full knowledge of the trees then the new house owner has no cause to gripe

its when hedges and trees encroach and mean anything a neighbour wants /tries to grow is forced forward for light when situations become fraught and resentment occurs

The last incessant weeks of rain will have exacerdted many situations
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Re: Neighbours, Overhang – and the Disposal of Cut-off Branc

Postby Mattylad » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:54 pm

OI! stop using those long words - 2 in one sentence - now I'm all dizzy :lol:
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Re: Neighbours, Overhang – and the Disposal of Cut-off Branc

Postby Treeman » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:59 pm

Mattylad wrote:Your situation is nowhere near unique, this topic gets discussed on Gardenlaw quite often with the same answers.

In my opinion:
Irrespective of what the precise law may or may not say - If you cut them off you dispose of them.

If the tree owner has said they do not want them back then they are yours to dispose of.

Others may say leave/dump them in the tree owners garden but IMO that is as has already been stated by someone with legal knowledge that this is dumping and illegal.

Treeman may profess that he just places them in the original owners garden and nothing gets done about it, but then he and his colleagues are doing it as a business, they require a license to dispose of them and it costs them so it is to their benefit to just dump them in the garden of the person that originally owned them. Although I consider him an expert in cutting down trees I would also consider his opinion in the matter biased by the nature of his profession. That's not meant to be nasty to him - just that I consider him and others in the same profession to have a vested interest in not having to dispose of them themselves.

A tree grows, it spreads - this is the nature of trees. Unless the removal is because the branch is causing damage to a neighboring property, a property that was there when the tree was planted then IMO the person that cuts them off should also remove them.

If the house was not there when the tree was planted then IMO the house was placed in the wrong place.

If you have the facilities to cut them off then you have the facilities to but them up, make them smaller and dispose of them through your local recycling centre or using other means.
If they are big branches and suitable for cutting into firewood then someone from Freegle/Freecycle may come and remove the big branches for you to store until they are suitable for burning.
I doubt they will also remove all your smaller branches/arisings.

Circumstances can be so varied that IMO there cannot be a simple cut and dried answer to many questions like this, if the tree owner has previously done all the work and now cannot and cannot dispose of what you cut off the tree them IMO it is only right that you remove them. If they are not causing damage then the other option is to leave them there, uncut from the tree.

IMO Rather than try to fall back on the law, dispose of them yourselves.


I had thought better of you but you have slipped into the group of people who work on assumption or misinformation.

Just to shoot a hole or two in your debunking, if you,have a waste carriers licence runs out to about 50 quid a year, that's less than a pound a week, you can't buy it by the day or job so if you do have a waste carriers licence its a quid a day, that's not a huge saving even if you forgo the licence.

Now here is the other problem you have, tree surgery waste is exempt for waste carrier licensing.

If there a any savings made they are passed on to the client, you can't charge for carting off of you don't cart anything away.

It's about not saddling the overhangee with costs that ought to be bourn by the tree owner.
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Re: Neighbours, Overhang – and the Disposal of Cut-off Branc

Postby WILL*REMAIN*STRONG » Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:48 pm

Mattylad wrote:OI! stop using those long words - 2 in one sentence - now I'm all dizzy :lol:


Oh no, could it be bilateral vestibular loss or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. :lol: :lol:
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Re: Neighbours, Overhang – and the Disposal of Cut-off Branc

Postby hzatph » Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:01 am

Judgements (as do statute laws) do go obsolete.

This is the principle of desuetude which is not favoured in the systems of law in England. If there is a case overturning Mills v Brooker then it would be good to share it. Overturning a Kings Bench decision will take a pretty powerful court as this decision will be binding on lower courts.
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Re: Neighbours, Overhang – and the Disposal of Cut-off Branc

Postby Anthony Westoby » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:26 am

dercetas,

You have come to us on this site to get info on your legal standing in your (complicated) situation. Thank you for your posting and thank you, indeed, for your further explanation (it ALWAYS concerns money).

However, The moral question will always arise and WILL influence the eventual outcome.

You may be interested to know that this site is famous for it's Moderators and such is the nature of your posting that you've managed to set three of these Mods at each others' throats.

This is more than just a posting ------ it's a reflection of the present political/socio/ecomomic domestic situation IMHO. I agree absolutely that there is work to be done on the legal aspects of us all living 'cheek by jowl' as we do in this country, after all, this isn't France.

If you read my postings you will see that you must find a DIY answer and not try to armour yourself with laws that just don't exist (yet)

It's an old old adage but 'talk talk talk' is my advice --- you'll get there.

I removed a tree from my neighbours garden yesterday ----- it's actually my tree ------ and I got a really good result from the resultant chat ----------- He now agrees with me that what is wrong with most folks is that they are hiding behind six or seven foot fences and not talking to one another.

He is going to revert to am old style 'Picket' fence and gate ---------- wonderful. ------- Why ------ cos it's cheaper!!!!!

I rest my case.

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Re: Neighbours, Overhang – and the Disposal of Cut-off Branc

Postby WILL*REMAIN*STRONG » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:58 am

Anthony Westoby wrote:If you read my postings you will see that you must find a DIY answer and not try to armour yourself with laws that just don't exist (yet)


Sound advice.

I know it isn't opinions you want to hear, but finding a way to suit both sides is better than laying down the law. If the other side doesn't want to dispose of branches, think yourself lucky they allow you access and to cut back at all. They could make it difficult for you, so difficult, you would need to hire professionals with scaffold.
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