branches disposal

branches disposal

Postby sarron » Tue May 29, 2012 2:12 pm

Hi all. A little advice needed. At the rear of my back garden a neighbours leylandii hedge around 12 feet high overhangs my property and boundary. No worrys with this but it prevents me taking out my fence panels for replacement, maintainance, etc. Am i allowed to cut this back to facilitate this and if so do i return the branches etc to them or dispose of them myself? Any help greatly appreciated.
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Re: branches disposal

Postby smarri » Tue May 29, 2012 3:54 pm

You can cut back to the fenceline but no further. It may be polite to knock on their door before you do the work though as it may save a boatload of grief in the long run (if these forums are anything to go by!) As for the arisings, you have to offer them back to the owner, but they are not obliged to take them.

In the case of leylandii clippings, it looks like you may have a trip to the tip ahead of you...
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Re: branches disposal

Postby sarron » Tue May 29, 2012 4:55 pm

Thanks for the reply. I probably will take the offcuts to the tip, tho it does seem a trifle unfair as the owners of the hedge should manage the hedge themselves. That said, i dont mind doing it as its only every 5 years or so, reason being to access my 6ft fence panels.
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Re: branches disposal

Postby Treeman » Tue May 29, 2012 6:12 pm

You can return the branches to the tree owners property and provided you don't damage anything in doing so there will be no consequences
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Re: branches disposal

Postby Conveyancer » Tue May 29, 2012 9:02 pm

Treeman wrote:You can return the branches to the tree owners property and provided you don't damage anything in doing so there will be no consequences


A sense of déjà-vu is overtaking me. :P

There are several threads on this topic. This is what I said in one of them:

A branch of your neighbour's tree encroaches into your airspace. The law allows you to abate the nuisance/trespass by severing the branch so long as in doing so you do not commit a trespass or endanger the tree. You sever the branch lawfully. So far so good. You then say to yourself that you have no intention of permanently depriving the neighbour of the branch, that you do not intend to treat the branch as your own to dispose of and that you will have regard to your neighbour's rights. What should you do to avoid a charge of theft? I do not think you need to present your neighbour with the branch - he may well not want it. The thing to do is to inform your neighbour (if not already aware of the fact) that the branch has been severed and say that if he wants it you are quite happy to let him have it. If you do that you have given a clear indication that you have no intention of depriving the neighbour of his property. Once you know what the neighbour wants you deal with the branch accordingly.

What about leaving branches or other arisings on your neighbour's land without his permission? Trespass involves going on or interfering with another's land without their permission. For social convenience, the law assumes a landowner consents to members of the public coming onto his land for a wide variety of purposes; deliverers of leaflets, persons wishing to convert you to their religion, a neighbour knocking on your door to ask if you have seen his dog, politicians soliciting your vote, double glazing salesmen and a whole range of others calling for lawful purposes, whilst they must leave when requested to do so, are not trespassers. The implied consent does not extend to wandering about the garden or doing anything that may cause the landowner inconvenience (apart from having to answer the door) and that has to include leaving arisings on his property.
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Re: branches disposal

Postby SYLVA » Wed May 30, 2012 8:40 am

Whilst obviously it would be very foolish of me to dismiss Conveyancer’s legal input on the question of overhanging hedge foliage, and tree branch from one property area to another, I just find that this whole area of responsibility is the wrong way round. The present situation must cause untold misery and anger for householders whose neighbours are totally devoid of showing any responsibility whatsoever in ensuring their own trees and hedges are not causing an overhanging nuisance. A similar situation occurs where householders plant conifer hedges close to their boundary wall adjacent to a public pavement and are quite happy for it to overhang 8 or 9inches.
My own personal view is that the property owner themselves should be solely responsible to ensure that all trees and boundary hedges in a normal domestic living environment should not be allowed to encroach or overhang into a neighbouring property.
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Re: branches disposal

Postby smarri » Wed May 30, 2012 10:03 am

SYLVA wrote:Whilst obviously it would be very foolish of me to dismiss Conveyancer’s legal input on the question of overhanging hedge foliage, and tree branch from one property area to another, I just find that this whole area of responsibility is the wrong way round. The present situation must cause untold misery and anger for householders whose neighbours are totally devoid of showing any responsibility whatsoever in ensuring their own trees and hedges are not causing an overhanging nuisance. A similar situation occurs where householders plant conifer hedges close to their boundary wall adjacent to a public pavement and are quite happy for it to overhang 8 or 9inches.
My own personal view is that the property owner themselves should be solely responsible to ensure that all trees and boundary hedges in a normal domestic living environment should not be allowed to encroach or overhang into a neighbouring property.


Whilst I can understand where you are coming from, in practice I think it would be all but unenforcable. It also flies in the face of centuries of common law, ie, the right of an affected to party to abate nuisance. The doctorine of self help if you like.

If what your suggesting was the case, then I can see two possible scenarios:

1) The affected party loses the right to cut encroaching branches. If the neighbour refuses to do the work, the only recourse would be to the courts to compel the neighbour to do it. That would take time, cost money and clog up an already overburdend court system with, to be honest, trivial matters. No one wins, because the next year, the neighbour again refuses to do the work and the whole process starts over.

2) The affected party retains the rights to cut encroaching branches. The neighbour this time takes the attitude, well if you don't like it, you do something about it. Again, unless it is an unusual case, I would guess the court would rule that you have the right under law to abate the nuisance yourself. Which is the situation we currently have.

Yes, the current situation is not perfect, but by and large it does work and has arisen over centuries of common law.
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Re: branches disposal

Postby Conveyancer » Wed May 30, 2012 12:44 pm

The thing is that up and down the land and for years and years thousands of landowners without malicious intent have planted trees or set hedges near their boundaries and the trees or hedges have encroached into their neighbours' airspace. It is the way British gardens are. The law allows an affected landowner to engage in self-help, but self-help must not extend beyond what is needed nor involve anything likely to involve damage or injury or a breach of the peace.
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Re: branches disposal

Postby oorya » Wed May 30, 2012 1:52 pm

When I had to cut some seriously hanging holly trees over my drive I cut them right up to the boundary and very neatly chucked them over the fence on to some grass without doing any damage. :twisted:
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Re: branches disposal

Postby hzatph » Wed May 30, 2012 6:19 pm

If the hedge is cut back it may not grow back and you could be left with dead branches to look at.
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Re: branches disposal

Postby sarron » Wed May 30, 2012 9:02 pm

Thanks for the many posts to my query. Seems a lot of hoo ha and red tape just to cut a hedge back however the hedge was cut to facilitate access to my 6ft fence panels. Without cutting the hedge back, i couldnt lift the panels out in order to replace them , etc so it had to be done. I may dispose ofthe offcutptq myself to avoid any potential hassle,we shall see.
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Re: branches disposal

Postby SYLVA » Wed May 30, 2012 9:16 pm

I could not agree more with hzatph, having recently witnessed a very tall Leylandii app 6inchs from a garden boundary fence whose branches have obviously been cut back at a lower level until the height became out of reach and unmanageable. The result visually, to put it bluntly, is simply an eyesore. Viewed from the tree owners perspective it still looks like a ‘Xmas’ tree.
When reading some of the postings on Garden Law in their varying categories, more often and not their problems seem to arise because of human failings.
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Re: branches disposal

Postby Anthony Westoby » Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:53 pm

Hi Sylva,

Good to see you're still 'at it' ------ here we go again, the old Leylandii scourge -------- some gardeners love 'em ----------- some landowners plant them just for malicious purposes to annoy and blot out their neighbours.

We have one such tree bully in our road and the saga of the blight of these monsters is a horrendous tale ---- residents have actually moved away or died, not necessarily as a consequence but during the ponderous complaints machinations, deliberately 'hung out' because of the fear of counter suing by tree owners claiming their trees had died as a result of local authority interference.

In the end, this landowner was given the choice of paying a fine or cutting his trees down to a lower height, which IMHO was a stupid decision, knowing as I do, that these particular trees were, indeed, planted deliberately with definite, stated and witnessed, malicious intent. They were cut down a bit under threat of an 'ASBO'

They should have been removed completely.

Recently, I spoke to a local authority legal bod about this method of making complaints about high hedges to a LA and she said that it was free to complain.

I had to assure her that it was just the opposite, some councils charging as much as 5 or 6 hundred pound per complaint.

She returned to her office to consult with her superiors. I have had no reply on this, to date.

TonyW.
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Re: branches disposal

Postby Treeman » Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:51 pm

Anthony Westoby wrote:In the end, this landowner was given the choice of paying a fine or cutting his trees down to a lower height, which IMHO was a stupid decision, knowing as I do, that these particular trees were, indeed, planted deliberately with definite, stated and witnessed, malicious intent. They were cut down a bit under threat of an 'ASBO'
.


I think you are reporting heresay and rumour and have picked up a few errors along the way.

The only legislation that can be used to enforce a reduction in height is the HH legislation, that act has no scope to levy fines.

The act also cannot land someone with an ASBO for not cutting the hedge, you either cut the hedge to the action height (or less by your own discretion) or the authority passes the matter to enforcement who send in a contractor to get it done.
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Re: branches disposal

Postby Anthony Westoby » Sat Jun 02, 2012 11:20 pm

Treeman wrote:
Anthony Westoby wrote:In the end, this landowner was given the choice of paying a fine or cutting his trees down to a lower height, which IMHO was a stupid decision, knowing as I do, that these particular trees were, indeed, planted deliberately with definite, stated and witnessed, malicious intent. They were cut down a bit under threat of an 'ASBO'
.


I think you are reporting heresay and rumour and have picked up a few errors along the way.[quote]

Treeman,

Yes, I probably did give that impression, I was trying to condense a very very long running saga involving the LA who should probably have contacted your good self for advice, as I'm sure they didn't know which way was up at the time.

Enforcement officers were becoming a way of life at this time, trying to get the guy to give these people alongside him some light in their houses. His reply to their verbal complaints was "If you can't see to read in your kitchen, go in your front room!"

That's not hearsay, or rumour, that's witnessed, I won't make a statement on here that I can't back up with written facts.

As 'Despair' said at the time, on here, "The High Hedges Law isn't working!" and she was absolutely correct.

TonyW.
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