Damage to neighbour's tree roots?

Damage to neighbour's tree roots?

Postby creamcheese » Tue May 12, 2015 8:09 pm

Hi there, Our garage block will be built near to the boundary, and the excavation will almost certainly damage or destroy the roots of a silver birch on the neighbour's side. Presumably there is nothing he could do about this, but I'm worried that the tree will become weakened and more likely to fall on my new garage block! I suppose I should persuade him that it's better for both us us if the tree is removed prior to work commencing?
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Re: Damage to neighbour's tree roots?

Postby COGGY » Tue May 12, 2015 8:38 pm

Hi

Your question has left me almost speechless. Why should your neighbour lose a tree he is presumably happy with to accomodate your building? If you are worried about the tree is it possible to put your garage block elsewhere on your property?

Regards
Coggy
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Re: Damage to neighbour's tree roots?

Postby APC » Tue May 12, 2015 8:51 pm

Have you got planning permission?
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Re: Damage to neighbour's tree roots?

Postby creamcheese » Tue May 12, 2015 8:57 pm

yes, got planning permission. I'm guessing this must happen all the time with buildings and extensions near to boundary. Maybe trees are more robust than I think?
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Re: Damage to neighbour's tree roots?

Postby APC » Tue May 12, 2015 9:39 pm

Did this tree come up at any stage of the application? Are there any conditions relating to trees?
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Re: Damage to neighbour's tree roots?

Postby arsie » Wed May 13, 2015 1:02 am

Your concern about the tree falling is understandable. But you cannot compel your neighbour to fell his tree. Indeed, if your excavations cause his tree to die, you would be liable for damages.

Having been in a similar situation, my advice to you is to consider the foundations carefully. My garage was constructed on a 'floating' foundation (stressed concrete pad) to guard against heave. If you do succeed in killing the tree, the root system will no longer suck water out of the ground and, especially with a clay subsoil, the ground may swell as it takes on water: this phenomena is known as 'heave' which, like subsidence, can adversely affect conventional foundations :shock:

My advice to your neighbour is to apply for a TPO (tree preservation order.)
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Re: Damage to neighbour's tree roots?

Postby Collaborate » Wed May 13, 2015 8:15 am

I'm curious about this. Lets assume that creamcheese's garage build doesn't kill the tree, but some roots have to be cut back. I don't know how likely this is, but I suppose it's possible that the roots there may start to grow back. If they do, and cause damage to the garage, would the neighbour be liable for that damage? I'm aware that ordinarily an estate owner is liable for damage caused by the roots of their tree if they have failed to take steps to abate the nuisance.
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Re: Damage to neighbour's tree roots?

Postby MacadamB53 » Wed May 13, 2015 8:22 am

Hi Collaborate,

I believe they would:

I suppose it's possible that the roots there may start to grow back.

it's possible some new roots might encroach where the old ones had been removed - causing an entirely new nuisance.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Damage to neighbour's tree roots?

Postby mr sheen » Wed May 13, 2015 8:43 am

creamcheese wrote:Hi there, Our garage block will be built near to the boundary, and the excavation will almost certainly damage or destroy the roots of a silver birch on the neighbour's side.......... but I'm worried that the tree will become weakened and more likely to fall on my new garage block!


Yes, you are right to be worried.

creamcheese wrote:I suppose I should persuade him that it's better for both us us if the tree is removed prior to work commencing?


:lol: better for you may be....why should he be bothered, he only loses a tree.
Your insurance will probably refuse a claim for any damage to garage caused by the tree since destabilising the tree by removing its roots on one side makes it entirely foreseeable that the tree could fall onto the garage.

Or are you intending to 'persuade' the neighbour with a cash offer for the tree and covering all costs of its removal...then you might be talking!
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Re: Damage to neighbour's tree roots?

Postby MacadamB53 » Wed May 13, 2015 9:18 am

Hi creamcheese,

mr sheen wrote:Your insurance will probably refuse a claim for any damage to garage caused by the tree since destabilising the tree by removing its roots on one side...
I agree - but you've not actually said you'd need to remove ALL roots from one side (or even MOST...).

are you making a broad assumption about the whereabouts of the tree's root system or have you already begun excavating and know how badly they will be affected?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Damage to neighbour's tree roots?

Postby creamcheese » Wed May 13, 2015 10:00 am

Hi all, Thanks for all the replies.

The tree didn't come up in the planning app.

Next door is rented. I did speak to the landlord a few years ago to say that he might want to consider removing the tree, as it's only about 2 m from his house, which is a bungalow, and probably doesn't have deep foundations. So I'm hoping that if I approach him again, this will prompt him into action. We would be happy to pay for the tree removal, or at least pay half.

Without excavation, I would imagine that 30-40% of the tree roots might be on my side.

The liability side of things is interesting though
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Re: Damage to neighbour's tree roots?

Postby arsie » Wed May 13, 2015 1:19 pm

Landlords don't like spending money unless they have to. He may well prefer the status quo.

In your position I would have an exploratory dig - a few holes - to assess the roots. To see what you're up against depth-wise and to find out the extent of their spread. Depending on the size and age of the tree an expert could possibly give you estimates. Even if you downgrade to a car port with just a concrete pad laid, that could deprive the roots of water. On the other hand they could (but I am no expert) adapt and grow to where there is water - but are you paving over?

The best solution might be to offer to pay to remove the tree, with the landlord's agreement to the action. However that might not defend you against caused consequences such as any 'heave'.
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Re: Damage to neighbour's tree roots?

Postby APC » Wed May 13, 2015 8:37 pm

On your planning application form, did you tick the boxes relating to whether or not there were trees nearby and whether they would need any form of pruning to facilitate?
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Re: Damage to neighbour's tree roots?

Postby creamcheese » Wed May 13, 2015 10:07 pm

APC wrote:On your planning application form, did you tick the boxes relating to whether or not there were trees nearby and whether they would need any form of pruning to facilitate?


Yes, as we have at least one tree of our own to remove.
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Re: Damage to neighbour's tree roots?

Postby APC » Wed May 13, 2015 10:10 pm

Have you submitted foundation designs in any capacity?

If you have, and they have been approved, then permission has been granted for doing whatever you need to facilitate the building of your garage.
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