Council Trees, still classed as a neighbouring tree?

Council Trees, still classed as a neighbouring tree?

Postby Foofan » Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:06 pm

Hi everyone,

I have sticky issue here regarding some large pine trees to the rear of my garden that are owned/ maintained by the local council. One tree in particular is growing downwards into my garden by nearly 7 meters.
The council are refusing to cut down the tree because of its deformed shape, if the tree was to be cut back it can kill the tree.
I have had a professional tree surgeon to look at it who has confirmed that if they were to prune it back they would have to go back to the stem otherwise it can also kill the tree. The stem is not on the councils land.

Now, the local council are refusing to do it as the tree is deemed to be healthy and don't want to kill it, If I cut down back the tree and it dies they are saying the tree surgeon and I would be liable for killing it.

What am I supposed to do, I have told them it is encroaching our land, it is tress passing, if it was maintained correctly it wouldn't be growing downwards!

The question is, I have rights against a neighbouring trees, is this still classed as a neighbouring tree?
If I arrange for the tree to be pruned back to my boundary and it dies, will be liable for it?

I have told them I cutting it back and offered the branches etc which they have chosen to ignore. I am double checking there is no PTO on the tree which I'm pretty sure it hasn't.

Hope you guys can help!?
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Re: Council Trees, still classed as a neighbouring tree?

Postby mugwump » Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:27 pm

Whose land is the stem on?

I assume by stem you mean where the tree enters the ground?
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Re: Council Trees, still classed as a neighbouring tree?

Postby Foofan » Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:36 pm

The councils land, so the tree is growing on their side over into mine.

To give you an idea the tree hasn't grown straight, it has bent inwards into my land 'searching for light' they said
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Re: Council Trees, still classed as a neighbouring tree?

Postby mr sheen » Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:07 pm

You have the right to cut back encroaching vegetation to the boundary. It would be worth putting the council on notice that you intend to exercise your right to do this and offer them the option of cutting it back themselves, in writing. After confirming no TPO of course ( which they may try to get btw).
If they choose not to cut it back themselves, inform them that you can take no responsibility for the tree which has grown into your airspace and is causing a nuisance and a health and safety risk to you and your family, also provide photos of it and if you have one, a tree surveyors report if you wish.

It is then their choice as to whether they want to take control of it's cutting back or not. If the tree ultimately dies, you have evidence that you...a) gave them the option of dealing with the issue, b) put them on written notice of your intention, c) put them on notice that the tree was encroaching onto your land and presented a nuisance and H&S risk to you and your family.
In view of this evidence and your right to self-help in the removal of the nuisance of encroaching vegetation, if the tree dies the council will have to weigh up their chances of proving that your actions caused its death; justify not taking any action to reduce the nuisance of the tree and prove their financial losses as a result of your actions and then get a sympathetic judge to take their side against the accepted common law right to remove the nuisance of encroaching vegetation on your property....and allocate resources to such a law suit.
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Re: Council Trees, still classed as a neighbouring tree?

Postby Foofan » Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:22 pm

Thanks for that, this is what my last email said to the council office I'm currently dealing with and they haven't responded.

The branch is encroaching our land and is classed as trespassing. If ### fail to maintain the tree(s) I have the rights to cut back what crosses over my boundary. As the tree is growing downwards into my garden in search of light surely the tree and the surrounding hasn't been maintained correctly otherwise this wouldn't happen.

We have the right to remove what is in our boundary, ### have not maintained this tree correctly and is ultimately deformed. We will cut back what we are entitled to and will not be held responsible if the tree was to die.

We shouldn't be made to live with something that you haven't maintained correctly and refuse to action against.

Please confirm if you want the branches back once removed?


I just worried that they may have something against me if anything was to happen.
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Re: Council Trees, still classed as a neighbouring tree?

Postby mr sheen » Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:32 pm

That sounds ok. May be worth chasing it up in order to have a paper trail of evidence of how you tried to resolve the issue....along lines....since you have not replied to our previous email of....date...,we hereby give you notice that unless you take action to remove the trespass of your tree on our property within 10 days, the trespass will be removed without further notice immediately after the 10 days. If you are concerned about the consequences of the removal of the trespass on the health of the tree, we strongly advise you to remove the nuisance yourselves. If you choose not to remove the nuisance/trespass yourselves within 10 days, we assume that you are unconcerned about the tree and that it has no value and therefore we cannot be held responsible for any consequences relating to the tree.
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Re: Council Trees, still classed as a neighbouring tree?

Postby arborlad » Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:29 pm

Foofan wrote: One tree in particular is growing downwards into my garden by nearly 7 meters.



Any chance of a photo.

You have two competing common law rights here, yours to cut the stem back to the boundary* and the tree owners right not to have his property damaged by your actions.

When did you first become aware of the problem, is there any reason you haven't acted sooner?

*Subject to any statutory protection the tree/s may have - TPOs, Conservation Area.
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Re: Council Trees, still classed as a neighbouring tree?

Postby COGGY » Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:31 pm

Make sure you take plenty of photos from all angles to support your case.
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Re: Council Trees, still classed as a neighbouring tree?

Postby Foofan » Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:40 pm

Thanks everyone, much appreciate the help here.

I did try and get this sorted last year but the chap I was dealing with was a complete a**e, it was only because I was seeking planning permission to carry out works to the driveway I needed to remove a tree from the front. I got speaking to the tree surgeon who knows all the landscape officers etc in my borough and told me the guy I was dealing with had left. So I thought great, chance to start again which is where I am now. Before he said there was nothing wrong with the tree and ignored every email from then on.

I will get some photographs together tonight and I will upload them.

Currently waiting on clarification there isn't a TPO on the tree it isn't a conservation area.
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Re: Council Trees, still classed as a neighbouring tree?

Postby arborlad » Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:33 pm

Foofan wrote:Currently waiting on clarification there isn't a TPO on the tree.



Should be available online.
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Re: Council Trees, still classed as a neighbouring tree?

Postby jonahinoz » Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:05 am

the chap I was dealing with was a complete a**e,

Hi,

Most people can endure adversity ... it's when they have authority that you learn their true character.

John W
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Re: Council Trees, still classed as a neighbouring tree?

Postby APC » Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:01 am

Not suggesting he isn't a complete a**e but if they have an corporately adopted tree safety policy that is tied to a specific tree safety budget, and the issue is that it is merely overhanging rather than a clear safety issue, then no amount of emails and phonecalls will get it gone on their own budget. If it's as deformed as you say, I would expect the authority to at least let you deal with it at your own expense though.
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Re: Council Trees, still classed as a neighbouring tree?

Postby Foofan » Tue Apr 19, 2016 12:54 pm

APC wrote: If it's as deformed as you say, I would expect the authority to at least let you deal with it at your own expense though.


This is the issue, I have had surveys carried out and willing to pay for the works to be carried out. I don't think the council are lawfully correct in telling me I cant cut the branches back.

Unfortunately I cant upload any photographs as this is my first post.

Our tree surgeon hasn't come across this issue before, I think I will end up seeking legal advise. Hopefully it ends well.

Thank you for all your help and comments.
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Re: Council Trees, still classed as a neighbouring tree?

Postby arborlad » Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:56 am

Foofan wrote:Unfortunately I cant upload any photographs as this is my first post.




You've actually got 5 posts - you should be able to.

To answer the question posed in your thread title, if the council own the land then the council own the tree. Your own situation might be complicated by who occupies or what use the land is being put to - school, play area, amenity, highway etc., all will have separate budgets that these works might come under.
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