Your opinions on tall ash trees close to boundary

Your opinions on tall ash trees close to boundary

Postby TruckTastic » Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:10 pm

Hello,
I have searched for similar information but can not find anything exactly same as my situation. I am new here so please be gently but could I ask for advice on the following please:
(I apologise in advance for the long post, but I have tried to provide all information and be as accurate as I can).

At the bottom of my garden, 12m from the house, are 3 ash trees planted just the other side of my fence. The land is woodland owned by the council and in-between the ash trees are many smaller trees and bushes and all is overgrown with brambles forming a sort of hedge above the fence panels growing to a height of about 25ftft. The ash trees were planted by the council after the house was built. They are less than 2ft from the fence and approximately 13ft between them. When we purchased the house 5 years ago, we were informed that the woodland areas were managed by the council. Until very recently the whole estate area (woodland and peoples gardens) had tree preservation orders on everything. We were notified by letter last year that the TPOs had all been removed.
Since we moved in the 3 ash trees have more than doubled in height and being so close together the crown appears to be just going upwards rather that any real spreading out. The three ash trees are now over 55ft tall.
In our opinion, there is significant shading to the garden resulting in damp and boggy ground. Branches (small) sometimes fall off the trees (no sign of dead or diseased branches) and land in the garden where children play. A trampoline net and play house roof have been damaged by the falling branches. The trees have grown so fast and are so tall that they now shade a roof mounted solar PV system in the mornings, especially in the winter months when the solar gain is at it’s lowest and most needed.
I approached the council to see if their height could be managed, but they flatly refused, stating there was nothing wrong with the trees. I have offered to cover all costs, use a tree surgeon of their choice and agree with them what level of work could be done prior to doing anything. They still refused. They have stated that I can cut everything that overhangs my property and they do not want the branches back. I have done this to remove our immediate perceived danger associated with dropping braches.
The council does have a published strategy on tree management, including "ensuring a balanced and evenly distributed crown is maintained" – The work they approved for the ash trees (cutting all branches off one side) appears to go against this strategy, but once again they appear indifferent to this.

So my questions are:
Is it appropriate planting to plant such fast growing ash trees so close to my boundary and not manage their height?
Is >55ft ash trees on the boundary reasonable?
Is it appropriate to plant the ash trees 13ft apart? Is there any guidance on this sort of thing?

Now here’s the point of law question that I can not find any guidance on: Can I cut all roots that cross onto my land without notifying the council? (If I notify them of my intent prior to the work, I am led to believe they will simply put a TPO back on the trees). There is no visible root damage to my property. I will notify them of the work (with pictures if necessary) stating what I have done after doing it. My sole intent of going down this path (if legal) is to force them to reconsider the stability of the trees and consider having to manage/reduce their height.

I must state that it not my first choice or desire to damage, kill or force the removal of the trees. I very much enjoy the majority of the trees surrounding my property (and there are lots) but do feel these three particular ash trees need to be managed to a reasonable height.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Kind regards,
TruckTastic
 
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Re: Your opinions on tall ash trees close to boundary

Postby MacadamB53 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:05 pm

Hi TruckTastic,

Is it appropriate planting to plant such fast growing ash trees so close to my boundary and not manage their height?
define "appropriate"

Is >55ft ash trees on the boundary reasonable?
define "reasonable"

Is it appropriate to plant the ash trees 13ft apart?
define "appropriate"

Is there any guidance on this sort of thing?
I'm sure everyone and anyone who knows enough about trees will offer some sort of guidance

they are not your trees and where they've been planted has little to do with you.

Can I cut all roots that cross onto my land without notifying the council?
you sure can ;)

I will notify them of the work
I wouldn't bother

My sole intent of going down this path is to force them to reconsider the stability of the trees and consider having to manage/reduce their height.
don't waste your time then - it ain't gonna happen just because you've cut some roots.

Kind regards, Mac
MacadamB53
 
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Re: Your opinions on tall ash trees close to boundary

Postby arsie » Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:39 pm

Depending on the depth of your pocket may I suggest you commission a qualified tree consultant's situation report? Our neighbour recently demolished an old '50s bungalow in our conservation area and built a new house. As a developer he was well versed in the necessary campaign to remove trees - some quite established and large - to achieve his goal. Investing £1,500 was money well spent, to be able to locate his new house and separate double garage where he wanted, allowing that the historic buildings officer made him move the garage for aesthetic reasons :roll:

The loss of income on FITs etc would fund this sort of expenditure in very few years I imagine.
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Re: Your opinions on tall ash trees close to boundary

Postby ukmicky » Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:18 pm

You can abate a nuisance but your common law rights do not protect you if your actions are deemed negligent where injury or damage occurs

If the trees are only a few feet from your fence and you cut through the roots at the fence line you are going to be going through some major roots .Whilst a tree can still live and remain standing with a some of its roots being severed . It depends on what you are going to be cutting through . Do it without an understanding that only qualified people like treeman on this forum has and you could end up with and unstable tree which could fall .

If the tree falls and it was shown that it was due to you cutting through the roots ,you can be blamed for any damage or injury . You can be found negligent due to your actions and i wouldnt want to be you if an injury occurred or it fell and took out a house.

Abatement of a nuisance can only be performed in simple cases, severing roots of a tree which could cause the tree to fall is not a simple case.

Do not do so without a report from someone qualified telling you exactly what you can safely do or you will in the future looking out your window watching the trees sway every time we get strong winds.

Kill the tree and you can be the test case that decides if actions like yours were reasonable ,appropiate in the circumstances legal.
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
ukmicky
 
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Re: Your opinions on tall ash trees close to boundary

Postby TruckTastic » Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:15 pm

Thanks all for the comments so far.

Ukmicky: Thank you, very useful info.
You are spot on. I have surmised that the trees will most probably become unstable if I cut 50% roots, all from one side. This appears to be my only chance of getting anything done with the trees so I guess the legal question is, if I cut the roots and then notify the owner that the trees are probably unstable, am I still responsible if they fall?

Kind regards,
TruckTastic
 
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Re: Your opinions on tall ash trees close to boundary

Postby ukmicky » Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:34 pm

Are you serious

You want to cut through the roots of a tree to the point that you are hoping your actions will make it unstable and therefore could fall and take out your house or kill someone. If it were to fall and kill someone it would be classed as criminal recklessness and the police would be interviewing you and could be charging you with manslaughter. These trees are also owned by a council with big legal departments who will not allow you to get away scott free unless they have no choice.

The law also allows you to abate a simple nuisance , it doesn't say you can kill a tree to abate the nuisance. The reason most advice would be dont do anything which will kill the tree is because the trees now rely on your land for support and survival and equity could prevent you from removing that support. Its never as far as im aware been tested in a court of law with a tree which maybe because no one has been silly enough to take such an action . But if it were and you were to lose you could be paying out damages to the value of the trees and any work needed to be performed to remove the dead ,dying or dangerous trees .

What will the council do if you told them you cut the roots, I dont know. They may simply leave them and monitor them as they cant access your land to see what you did. Maybe treeman or TO would know.


My advice is dont do it. But others may think differently so wait for other opinions.
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
ukmicky
 
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Re: Your opinions on tall ash trees close to boundary

Postby MacadamB53 » Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:35 pm

Hi TruckTastic,

My sole intent of going down this path is to force them to reconsider the stability of the trees and consider having to manage/reduce their height.

I now realise that you didn't mean:
"knowing I'm going to carry out work on the trees might make them reconsider the current stability of trees"

but, alarmingly:
"I'm hoping to make the trees unstable so they have to consider removing the trees"

that would be a very dangerous and moronic course of action to take IMHO.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Your opinions on tall ash trees close to boundary

Postby arsie » Thu Jul 03, 2014 10:04 am

TruckTastic wrote:Thanks all for the comments so far.

Ukmicky: Thank you, very useful info.
You are spot on. I have surmised that the trees will most probably become unstable if I cut 50% roots, all from one side. This appears to be my only chance of getting anything done with the trees so I guess the legal question is, if I cut the roots and then notify the owner that the trees are probably unstable, am I still responsible if they fall?

Kind regards,

Simple answer to your question, YES.

From your posts on here you do realise this is a possible consequence of your proposed action. At the very least, to protect yourself should this occur, you should commission a qualified tree consultant's report. He will recommend possible actions open to you and the possible outcomes, and should be able to indicate where you would stand in law on possible outcomes. Such reports can and may make comments about trees on others' property if so directed.

Our neighbour wanted to build in a conservation area and the site was full of trees. His tree survey commended the felling of a mature large cherry alleging it was diseased. This was done by agreement of the local tree officer without inspection. Another small one not even big enough for the survey, he removed himself, on the same basis - an experienced developer who knows the system. So, well before planning application time, he made space for his planned drive and garage.

If he had just gone ahead and felled trees he would have fallen foul of the trees officer big time. That is the lesson here.

In your case, if you cut the roots and then the ash trees die/fall, the expense of court action, expert reports etc would fall on you if it were found that your actions caused the damage: not 100% certain but I think your surmise is fair.
arsie
 
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