Two problems with neighbour

Two problems with neighbour

Postby jerry12953 » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:12 am

We have an old ash tree in the corner of our garden. We re-named the house after it when we moved in as it is the only decent-sized tree for quite some distance. New neighbours moved in about 18 months ago. Recently they informed us that they wanted to remove some over-hanging branches from the tree as they were worried about possible damage to their property. We had a reasonably amicable discussion with them but realised there was nothing we could do to stop them.

Last weekend while we were away they removed several large boughs that overhung the farmers field at the back of our houses, "on behalf of the farmer". At this point I realised our neighbour intends to remove as much of the tree as possible. At first I took him at face value but now I realise I was wrong. I am just waiting for his mate with the equipment to come and vandalise the tree further. I understand the timber / logs belong to us , though, and have asked him when it would be convenient to collect it. No reply so far. How can we make sure that at least we get some warmth out of his vandalism?

A few weeks ago we noticed he had sprayed weedkiller across the boundary onto our garden in two places. We garden organically. At first we turned a blind eye but I did mention it during the discussion we had. He claimed it was a mistake but two "mistakes" in two different places stretches the imagination somewhat. What is the legal situation here?
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Re: Two problems with neighbour

Postby despair » Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:26 pm

If he has cut the tree beyond the boundary and or if you can PROVE he sprayed weedkiller then its criminal damage

whether the Police will act is another matter

You could file a civil claim but unless you have legal expenses cover and they will assist it could be pricey
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Re: Two problems with neighbour

Postby MacadamB53 » Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:01 pm

Hi jerry,

two "mistakes" in two different places stretches the imagination somewhat

why have you used inverted commas for that word?

I don't think it's a stretch of the imagination at all for someone whose cr@p at something to repeatedly make mistakes...

how much of an area was inadvertently sprayed?
was it as much as he could have done?

you don't seem to be accusing him of any mistakes with regards to the tree, but he may have mistakenly disposed of the arisings (easy mistake if you're ignorant of the nuances of the law).

At this point I realised our neighbour intends to remove as much of the tree as possible

that's fine though, isn't it...

just waiting for his mate with the equipment to come and vandalise the tree further

vandalism is a criminal offence - has this actually happened or are you using poetic licence to convey your opinion?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Two problems with neighbour

Postby arborlad » Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:06 pm

jerry12953 wrote:We re-named the house after it when we moved in as it is the only decent-sized tree for quite some distance.



Does the tree have a Tree Preservation Order?
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Re: Two problems with neighbour

Postby jerry12953 » Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:43 pm

MacadamB53 wrote:Hi jerry,

why have you used inverted commas for that word?

I don't think it's a stretch of the imagination at all for someone whose cr@p at something to repeatedly make mistakes...

how much of an area was inadvertently sprayed?
was it as much as he could have done?

you don't seem to be accusing him of any mistakes with regards to the tree, but he may have mistakenly disposed of the arisings (easy mistake if you're ignorant of the nuances of the law).


I used inverted commas because that is the word he used. I don't believe they were mistakes at all. It's quite noticeable how he hasn't made the same "mistake" on his side of the fence. But yes, he could have done a lot more.

I don't believe anything he has done to the tree is a mistake. How do you remove two quite significant boughs on someone else's land by mistake? He would have needed ladders, saws etc, though as we weren't here when it happened I didn't see it. I think he has shredded some minor trimmings but the big boughs from the field are still piled up in his garden in the form of logs. As there is an electric cable running above his garden he is waiting for a "professional" to do the major work in his garden on the tree.

MacadamB53 wrote: At this point I realised our neighbour intends to remove as much of the tree as possible

that's fine though, isn't it...

just waiting for his mate with the equipment to come and vandalise the tree further

vandalism is a criminal offence - has this actually happened or are you using poetic licence to convey your opinion?).


We understand that he has the right to remove branches overhanging his garden. Presumably he had permission from the farmer to remove the boughs on the field side of the fence but why would he want to do it if he was a reasonable neighbourly type of person? Of course I describe it as vandalism.
Last edited by jerry12953 on Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Two problems with neighbour

Postby jerry12953 » Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:44 pm

arborlad wrote:
jerry12953 wrote:We re-named the house after it when we moved in as it is the only decent-sized tree for quite some distance.



Does the tree have a Tree Preservation Order?


No. I wonder if it would be worth trying to get one at this late stage.
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Re: Two problems with neighbour

Postby jerry12953 » Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:50 pm

despair wrote:If he has cut the tree beyond the boundary and or if you can PROVE he sprayed weedkiller then its criminal damage

whether the Police will act is another matter

You could file a civil claim but unless you have legal expenses cover and they will assist it could be pricey


He has admitted spraying weedkiller but said it was a mistake. Made the same mistake in two separate places, funnily enough!

But "criminal damage" sounds interesting.

Maybe a visit to a solicitor? As you can tell I feel very strongly about this.
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Re: Two problems with neighbour

Postby span » Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:38 pm

jerry12953 wrote:
despair wrote:If he has cut the tree beyond the boundary and or if you can PROVE he sprayed weedkiller then its criminal damage

whether the Police will act is another matter

You could file a civil claim but unless you have legal expenses cover and they will assist it could be pricey


He has admitted spraying weedkiller but said it was a mistake. Made the same mistake in two separate places, funnily enough!

But "criminal damage" sounds interesting.

Maybe a visit to a solicitor? As you can tell I feel very strongly about this.



Then cut back all overhanging branches yourself so he has no excuse to have a go at your tree himself. Cheaper than a visit to a solicitor.

Oh, re spraying poison - a stray gust of wind or two will easily carry spray to where you don't want it to go, no matter how carefully you think you're being.
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Re: Two problems with neighbour

Postby MacadamB53 » Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:12 pm

Hi jerry,

why would he want to do it if he was a reasonable neighbourly type of person?

is the farmer not also a neighbour?

re criminal damage - don't waste your time or energy trying to sue your neighbour unless it's worth it - how much provable damage has been caused? (probably caused by a gust of wind).

re TPO - is the tree clearly visible from nearby public spaces?

re the "vandalism" - you own a tree that has been encroaching into the airspace of at least two neighbours' properties and they have abated this trespass.

as span says, if you want this to stop then you can keep the tree growth in check yourself...

re the arisings - if you can see them then demand their return (having first made him aware of the law).

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Two problems with neighbour

Postby Roblewis » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:17 pm

Overspraying by accident or intent is a criminal offence under the Control of Pesticide Regulations. Your neighbour only has a right to spray his own land as a domestic householder. Even as a contractor he has still committed the same offence. Have a talk to the council about a TPO.
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Re: Two problems with neighbour

Postby MacadamB53 » Fri Jul 11, 2014 12:21 am

Hi Rob,

Overspraying by accident or intent is a criminal offence under the Control of Pesticide Regulations.

can you point me towards the relevant section? (I've read the legislation a couple of times but it's not jumping out at me about it being a criminal offence)

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Two problems with neighbour

Postby jonahinoz » Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:16 am

Hi,

Where I live, it is legend and folk-lore that if you ask the council "Is there a TPO on my tree?", the immediate answer will be ...
"There is now!"

<<< re TPO - is the tree clearly visible from nearby public spaces? >>> That question suggests that if nobody can see your tree, you can cut it down. Reminds me of the 11th Commandment ... Thou shalt not get caught! :D

I believe that the Ash is related to the Rowan (aka Mountain Ash), which is a favourite "Self Sufficiency" tree, ideal for pollarding/copsing ... chop it down every 7 years, and it will regrow to give you a never ending supply of firewood. Question! If you cut off a bough from a mature tree, will it grow fresh branches (plural) from the injured spot?

John W
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Re: Two problems with neighbour

Postby arborlad » Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:09 am

span wrote:
Then cut back all overhanging branches yourself so he has no excuse to have a go at your tree himself. Cheaper than a visit to a solicitor.



If everybody followed that sort of dictat, this green and pleasant land , would be a lot less green and far less pleasant.


Oh, re spraying poison - a stray gust of wind or two will easily carry spray to where you don't want it to go, no matter how carefully you think you're being.




One of the primary conditions you have to consider is spray drift, if the neighbour was spraying in windy conditions, that in itself is a lack of care.



MacadamB53 wrote:
re TPO - is the tree clearly visible from nearby public spaces?




What are you suggesting?
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Re: Two problems with neighbour

Postby jerry12953 » Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:41 pm

There's some rather conflicting advice here! Some seems to take the devils advocate position purely for the hell of it.

If anyone could see the tree they would see that cutting it back ourselves to within our boundary would be pretty close to removing it altogether. Although the trunk is in the corner of our garden it spreads quite widely beyond it (or did). It's an old and venerable specimen.

There's no doubt that the spraying was intentional as there are just two patches of dead vegetation on our side of the fence. Nothing on theirs. I think it may be useful to mention criminal damage - if that really is the case - to ensure it doesn't happen again. I can't imagine actually suing the neighbour, although I suspect a solicitor's letter might be useful.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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Re: Two problems with neighbour

Postby arborlad » Fri Jul 11, 2014 3:19 pm

What is the farmers involvement or opinion on this, it would seem that some of the work couldn't have been done without trespass on his land.

What sort of vegetation has been killed, if it were thistles close to seeding, this may go some way to explaining his actions.
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