Huge Sycamore Tree Problem

Huge Sycamore Tree Problem

Postby charlie76 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:47 pm

Dear All,

Our neighbours have a huge sycamore tree in their garden. The tree sits on the boundary between the properties. The tree is at least 3 storeys high and towers above both properties.

It sits approximately 4 meters from our property and a 7 or 8 meters from their property. We have all the usual problems with leaf fall, seeds, aphids, sap, blocked gutters, lack of light etc etc.

So far the only obvious damage caused by the tree is to the pavement on my our property that sits directly next to the tree. There are no obvious cracks in the wall of our house yet.

Over a number of years we have discussed options with the neighbours about removing and/or managing the tree. The result of what seem like endless discussions (which included us offering to pay to remove their tree and pay for a more appropriate replacement tree to be planted) was for them to reject our proposals and suggest instead that we pay 100% of the costs to manage the tree's growth (but they wanted to approve the work in advance of us paying for it).

Whilst not my preferred outcome, this was at least some progress. Having submitted the first tree surgeon's proposal to manage the tree to them for consent, we are coming up against problems as they don't seem to like the proposal (which involved a pretty modest trim). Our suspicion is that they actually don't want to do anything and will just let the tree grow and grow. A number of months have now passed without any further communications.

All the advice we've had (from tree surgeons, the council etc) is that the tree is too close to the houses and should be removed as it's only a matter of time. We have also been told that if you cut back sycamore trees they tend to grow more and more aggressively.

We have been utterly reasonable throughout, but after years of discussions, we're running out of patience as it is utterly painful and seems now to either involve us spending more and more money to maintain a tree we don't much like or alternatively nothing is going to be done and the tree will continue to grow.

I have read other posts so understand my rights in terms of cutting back to the boundary etc (although again we've been advised to be careful here not to unbalance the tree).

I'd be grateful for any thoughts or suggestions from those on the board as to how best to proceed here particularly with regard to legal recourse (nuisance, trespass, negligence) as I fear we're running out of options. I also wonder whether there's any other options in terms of the council or high hedges type routes we should look to explore. After years of conversations, we've got nowhere so any help and advice would be gratefully received.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Huge Sycamore Tree Problem

Postby despair » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:27 pm

If theres actual damage to your paving however slight it seems to me your best course of action is to formally write a Putting you on Notice Letter


Detail all the problems in 1234 order starting with paving

add on the dates/offers of attempts made to resolve the problems
and that from this date they become 100% responsible for every bit of damage that occurs plus the fact they should inform their insurers

be sure to keep copies and send the letter by recorded delivery
Once you have done that theres little you can do but sit back and wait

If it was me I would be returning all leaves /twigs etc that eminate from the tree and keep the receipts for gutter cleaning etc
Do you have Legal Expenses Cover on your mortgage /insurances/credit cards/union memberships ................I hope you do because they too should be contacted
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Re: Huge Sycamore Tree Problem

Postby COGGY » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:35 pm

Have you considered asking your house insurers for help? It needs to be considered that they might refuse to cover you in future. On the other hand you are meant to tell insurance companies of any problems etc that may affect their liability. In this case I would think the neighbour's insurance company are liable for any damage caused by their tree. (I am not an insurance expert, that is merely my opinion). You could consider sending a letter by recorded delivery to the neighbours, informing them that any damage caused to your property by their tree is their responsibility. Possibly this may make them consider their position.
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Re: Huge Sycamore Tree Problem

Postby span » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:18 pm

Sometimes it's better to beg forgiveness than to seek permission.

They going on holiday anytime soon?
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Re: Huge Sycamore Tree Problem

Postby TO » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:00 pm

Hi

There are two sides to the garden fence. Your idea of reasonable may be your neighbours idea of constant moaning, harassment and bullying.

Other than with the neighbours agreement you only have one option, cut to the boundary and offer back the stuff you cut off, if the neighbours decline the offer, dispose of the stuff in a responsible manner.

Until damage does occur you have no recourse for nuisance or negligence. Once damage does occur you should let your insurer deal with it. Your insurer insures your property, it's nothing to do with your neighbours insurance. Should you be in a position to claim on your insurance for tree related damage your insurers would pay the costs of repair and if appropriate pursue your neighbours to get their money back.

From what you say the Council have no authority to act, and even if the tree was imminently dangerous and you requested they act under the Miscellaneous Provisions Act they don't have to. The high hedges legislation won't help as it relates to evergreen trees, not deciduous trees like sycamore, or individual trees of any kind.

I would urge you to ignore the advice of Span. Criminalising yourself is not a good idea and could prove more costly than just the fine.

TO
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Re: Huge Sycamore Tree Problem

Postby arsie » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:14 pm

I am really sorry for you. This is where our UK concept of 'freedom' doesn't work. It seems totally idiotic that there is no law to curb tree lovers - or probably more accurately, people who don't care - from acting in this way. In my opinion there should be law passed to require owners of tall trees in urban situations to act responsibly. As it is, until the tree poses a danger to others and/or their property, self centred irresponsible individuals are not obliged to care for or maintain the tree but can simply leave it to grow unfettered and untrimmed as it would do so harmlessly in the country in fields or hedgerows. There is no law that requires them to be considerate to those blighted by their neglect in a densely populated urban context. Crazy.
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Re: Huge Sycamore Tree Problem

Postby Sudynim » Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:21 am

arsie wrote:I am really sorry for you. This is where our UK concept of 'freedom' doesn't work. It seems totally idiotic that there is no law to curb tree lovers - or probably more accurately, people who don't care - from acting in this way. In my opinion there should be law passed to require owners of tall trees in urban situations to act responsibly. As it is, until the tree poses a danger to others and/or their property, self centred irresponsible individuals are not obliged to care for or maintain the tree but can simply leave it to grow unfettered and untrimmed as it would do so harmlessly in the country in fields or hedgerows. There is no law that requires them to be considerate to those blighted by their neglect in a densely populated urban context. Crazy.


Don't hold back, tell us what you really think....
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Re: Huge Sycamore Tree Problem

Postby arsie » Sun Sep 29, 2013 10:02 am

@Sudynim: :mrgreen:

@The OP: Seriously, have you considered getting experienced tree and ground specialists to trim the roots on your side and install a tree root barrier? This would cost money but should be once only and to your benefit.

I am no expert but I believe some factors to bear in mind are, the effect of surgery on their tree - you mustn't kill or injure it - and the effect of removing the water abstraction (by roots) from your subsoil. On clay soil in particular, tree roots can cause subsidence by removing water from the clay, which then shrinks. The other effect, heave, can occur when the clay re-hydrates once the tree roots are cut off.

Here are a couple of links from the first page of a google search on 'tree root barriers uk':
http://www.rootbarrier.com/subsidence
http://marishalthompson.co.uk/Root-Barriers/
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