Returning/not returning trimmings to neighbour

Returning/not returning trimmings to neighbour

Postby Mojisola » Fri Apr 29, 2011 7:30 pm

Can anyone quote the law that lays down the rules?

On another forum, someone has quoted Basingstoke Council's advice - www.basingstoke.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/04D ... rstree.pdf

This says "Any branches, fruit or roots that are removed must be carefully returned to the tree owner unless they agree otherwise." This seems to be the opposite of the usual advice given on this site - that you must ask the neighbour and only return arisings if the neighbour agrees to have them.
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Re: Returning/not returning trimmings to neighbour

Postby Mattylad » Fri Apr 29, 2011 10:43 pm

That would be because Basingstoke council have interpreted/explained the law differently, although it means the same thing not the opposite.

They must be offered back but if the offer is not accepted then it is the responsibility of whoever cut them down to dispose of them legally.

Which is along the same lines as in the PDF.
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Re: Returning/not returning trimmings to neighbour

Postby Mojisola » Fri Apr 29, 2011 10:51 pm

Mattylad wrote:That would be because Basingstoke council have interpreted/explained the law differently, although it means the same thing not the opposite.

They must be offered back but if the offer is not accepted then it is the responsibility of whoever cut them down to dispose of them legally.

Which is along the same lines as in the PDF.


This is what I've always understood but what is the actual law that says so?

Someone is quoting Basingstoke's leaflet as meaning that you have to return the arisings, ie throw them over the fence into the neighbour's garden.
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Re: Returning/not returning trimmings to neighbour

Postby Mattylad » Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:09 am

That someone is advising you to dump them - this is not right.

You have to "offer" them, throwing them on their land is dumping and you can be prosecuted for doing so.

Why do you ask about this subject?
Are you intending cutting some overhanging foilage and wish to dispose of it or has someone dumped it on you?
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Re: Returning/not returning trimmings to neighbour

Postby Mojisola » Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:21 am

Mattylad wrote:That someone is advising you to dump them - this is not right.

You have to "offer" them, throwing them on their land is dumping and you can be prosecuted for doing so.

Why do you ask about this subject?
Are you intending cutting some overhanging foilage and wish to dispose of it or has someone dumped it on you?


On another forum, this issue has been raised because the poster came home to find next door had cut back trees in the poster's garden and put the branches in the garden for the poster to get rid of. There have been several replies saying that the neighbour was right, the branches belonged to the poster and he had to get rid of them.

I posted, giving the advice that's always given on here that the neighbour has to offer the prunings but that the poster can refuse them and then the neighbour has to get rid of them.

That view has been rubbished and the leaflet from Basingstoke quoted in evidence. This says that the prunings must be returned to the tree owner (unless they agree otherwise) thus putting the emphasis on returning the arisings.

What is the law that backs the advice to only return the arisings if the neighbour wants them?
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Re: Returning/not returning trimmings to neighbour

Postby katee » Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:52 am

I think you should tell us what the other forum is.

Then we can all visit 'en masse' and put them right! 8) :lol:
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Re: Returning/not returning trimmings to neighbour

Postby Mojisola » Sat Apr 30, 2011 12:10 pm

katee wrote:I think you should tell us what the other forum is.

Then we can all visit 'en masse' and put them right! 8) :lol:


I don't think we can unless someone can tell me the law that the usual advice is based on, especially in the light of this - www.gardenlaw.co.uk/trees.html - "The neighbour can chop the branches back to the boundary but he has to return the lopped branches to the owner of the tree together with any fruit that might have been on them."

The usual advice given in posts contradicts this.
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Re: Returning/not returning trimmings to neighbour

Postby katee » Sat Apr 30, 2011 12:40 pm

....but he has to return the lopped branches to the OWNER of the tree.....

I'm still reading this as 'offering' (maybe my mind-set :? )

This suggests to me that the branches should be returned to the neighbour in person, not the neighbours garden.

There is nothing to say that the neighbour has to accept the branches.
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Re: Returning/not returning trimmings to neighbour

Postby despair » Sat Apr 30, 2011 12:56 pm

Katee

Basinstoke have got it wrong really they are thinking of the days when to not offer back the wood would deprive the tree owner of valuable firewood also of course a neighbour cannot keep apples /fruit etc
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Re: Returning/not returning trimmings to neighbour

Postby katee » Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:26 pm

Despair

katee wrote:....but he has to return the lopped branches to the OWNER of the tree.....


Mojisola wrote: "The neighbour can chop the branches back to the boundary but he has to return the lopped branches to the owner of the tree together with any fruit that might have been on them."


Both Mojisola and myself were quoting from our very own GARDEN LAW website http://www.gardenlaw.co.uk/trees.html

Nothing to do with Basingstoke!
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Re: Returning/not returning trimmings to neighbour

Postby Mojisola » Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:50 pm

katee wrote:....but he has to return the lopped branches to the OWNER of the tree.....

I'm still reading this as 'offering' (maybe my mind-set :? )

This suggests to me that the branches should be returned to the neighbour in person, not the neighbours garden.

There is nothing to say that the neighbour has to accept the branches.


I don't read it the way you do. I think it's very clear that the branches are still owned by the tree owner and the neighbour has to return them.

I have found this - www.woking.gov.uk/planning/trees/advice ... _them_back
so obviously Woking is in agreement with the usual advice given on these forums but what case law is that advice based on?
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Re: Returning/not returning trimmings to neighbour

Postby Treeman » Sat Apr 30, 2011 3:09 pm

Lemon v Webb. 1894
Establishes the right to abate nuisance by cutting the branches back

Mills v Brooker. 1919
Establishes that anyone cutting overhanging branches has no rights of ownership over them

So once you have cut off the overhanging branches they are still the property of the tree owner and you can see where people might get the idea that they must be returned to the owner, however using this as an excuse to lob them from whence they came without regard to property is likely to cause problems particularly if they cause damage.

The Mills v Brooker case is taken a little broadly, it was more about pecuniary advantage than anything else and involved fruit rather than branches. I do not see a specific obligation to return the arrisings, as long as you don’t make any advantage form them the precedent doesn’t apply.

Before disposing of any arrisings you should offer them back to the owner of the tree who is entitled to any benfits from it. If they are declined you are free to dispose of them in any way you can conscience, if you make use of them then fine but I see no obligation not to return them but I do see an obligation not to cause damage while doing so.

As an anecdote, I have personal knowledge of one land owner who engaged a contractor to cut back overhang, when he saw the chipper the mischief took him and he used it as a tool to extract some revenge. He directed the operative’s to “return the landowners property” all over his herbaceous beds and a pristine pin stripped lawn. This didn’t go down well and the land owner gained judgement for damages in the CC against the neighbour for the cost of clean up.

This is my take on things based on a minor review of the cases cited above, others may have diferent interpretations
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Re: Returning/not returning trimmings to neighbour

Postby Mattylad » Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:43 pm

Someone is misinterpreting what Basingstoke council are saying.

Any branches, fruit or roots that are removed must be carefully returned to the tree
owner unless they agree otherwise.


I have emboldened the statement from the PDF file.

"Unless they agree otherwise" suggests that you do not have the right to dump them on the owners land
but only to offer them to the owner - who if they do not agree to having them back is then no longer
responsible for them and the person that cut them off now needs to dispose of them.

The thread in question is on the MSF forums here.


It would help if one of the legal bods here can find the relative law.
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Re: Returning/not returning trimmings to neighbour

Postby katee » Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:40 pm

Is it not ''COMMON LAW''?

There seems to be confusion with the words OFFER and RETURN.

To OFFER: to make available, to present for acceptance.

To RETURN : to give back to the owner, to send back.

Therefore all cuttings should be OFFERED back.

.............. you should return the cuttings to your neighbour, but then you would have to offer them to him, at which point he could refuse or accept them. If he accepts then he should take them, if he refuses to take them then you have to accept them, OR you could offer them to your neighbour, at which point he could refuse or accept them, if he accepts them you should return them. If he refuses them you should dispose of them yourself..........

There, that's cleared that up! :shock:
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Re: Returning/not returning trimmings to neighbour

Postby Mojisola » Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:45 pm

The way the Basingstoke leaflet is written does make people think that the arisings have to be returned. Maybe people don't read the last bit about the neighbour needing to agree to it.

If you do a general search on Google, there are a lot of people who genuinely think that they must return the prunings. I can understand the logic: I've cut a branch off your tree but it's still your branch. It would appear that some of the neighbours who do this aren't actually being a deliberate nuisance but are following what they think the law says they must do.
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