Highways agency

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gybe62
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Highways agency

Post by gybe62 »

I hope someone can help with this.
Whilst I was away on holiday in august the Highways agency cut branches off a tree in my garden both on the road side, which they are allowed to do, and also they came into my garden without permission and took the branches off on that side too. In fact they have taken off more branches on the garden side than the road side. I have never received any communication from them to say this was going to happen but after it happened I found out on line that someone had made a complaint in October 2019. I have spoken to the HA and the man I spoke to said that they were allowed to come into my garden to cut off branches on my side of the tree but I believe this is trespass and criminal damage.

If anyone has any knowledge or advice on what I should do next I would appreciate it.
MacadamB53
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Re: Highways agency

Post by MacadamB53 »

gybe62 wrote: Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:33 pm I hope someone can help with this.
Whilst I was away on holiday in august the Highways agency cut branches off a tree in my garden both on the road side, which they are allowed to do, and also they came into my garden without permission and took the branches off on that side too. In fact they have taken off more branches on the garden side than the road side. I have never received any communication from them to say this was going to happen but after it happened I found out on line that someone had made a complaint in October 2019. I have spoken to the HA and the man I spoke to said that they were allowed to come into my garden to cut off branches on my side of the tree but I believe this is trespass and criminal damage.

If anyone has any knowledge or advice on what I should do next I would appreciate it.
what was the explanation given?
mr sheen
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Re: Highways agency

Post by mr sheen »

If your trees posed a risk to users of the HA have the right to take action (and in many cases invoice you!) to reduce the risks, and this sometimes means stabilising works on both sides of the tree.

You can complain if you like, you may or may not get anywhere. Next time there is a complaint because you aren’t taking your responsibilities to users of the highway seriously by keeping your trees trimmed and in good order, they may invoice you for the works needed.
gybe62
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Re: Highways agency

Post by gybe62 »

The explanation given after the damage had been done was that someone had complained last October, to the council, that the tree had caught their car, no-one every complained to me directly and no-one from the council contacted me. Earlier this year we did cut the branches back over the road as they were too low but it appears that they didn't check that before cutting even more off - I should say this is on a cul-de-sac on an estate not a main road.
Morgan Sweet
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Re: Highways agency

Post by Morgan Sweet »

Did they offer the branches to you?
ukmicky
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Re: Highways agency

Post by ukmicky »

Ring him back and say under the highways act they had to give you 14 days notice allowing you remove the obstruction yourself and they could only enter onto your property after the expiration of those 14 days.

yes in theory they committed a trespass but damages for a simple trespass is next to nothing and the cost of such an action would cost you far more than you would get in damages as the branches had to come off either by you or by them if you did nothing .

So what am I trying to say ,it may be worth an argument but don’t be tempted to try and take it further
Any information provided is not legal advice and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
gybe62
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Re: Highways agency

Post by gybe62 »

No, they didn't offer me the branches - I wasn't at home when they did it.

My issue is the loss of privacy in my garden - the leaves on the tree provided a lot of cover but now i have no privacy at all.
Collaborate
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Re: Highways agency

Post by Collaborate »

I think that small claims may be the way forward for you. You have lost the amenity of having your tree provide you with privacy. That might be worth something as compensation, as unless they can show that they firstly followed statutory procedure by writing to you first, and secondly the extent of the work they carried out was necessary to abate the nuisance but no more (whilst paying regard to good practice and the need to look after the overall health of your tree) they have acted ultra vires, have trespassed, and caused you loss.

Beware though that if they show that they acted in accordance with the law and proportionately then they may bill you for the work they carried out.

And of course you'd lose your claim.
MacadamB53
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Re: Highways agency

Post by MacadamB53 »

Collaborate wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 9:54 am I think that small claims may be the way forward for you. You have lost the amenity of having your tree provide you with privacy. That might be worth something as compensation, as unless they can show that they firstly followed statutory procedure by writing to you first, and secondly the extent of the work they carried out was necessary to abate the nuisance but no more (whilst paying regard to good practice and the need to look after the overall health of your tree) they have acted ultra vires, have trespassed, and caused you loss.

Beware though that if they show that they acted in accordance with the law and proportionately then they may bill you for the work they carried out.

And of course you'd lose your claim.
the suggestion that some council contractors did more work than necessary is interesting - I suppose there could’ve been a mistake made with the job spec they received...
gybe62
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Re: Highways agency

Post by gybe62 »

I didn't receive any notice but I do live in a privately owned council house and I think maybe the contractors assumed it was still council owned - in which case there wouldn't be a problem.
MacadamB53
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Re: Highways agency

Post by MacadamB53 »

gybe62 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:06 pm I didn't receive any notice but I do live in a privately owned council house and I think maybe the contractors assumed it was still council owned - in which case there wouldn't be a problem.
following ukmicky’s suggestion is the only way forward if you want to try and get anywhere...

all the best, Mac
mr sheen
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Re: Highways agency

Post by mr sheen »

gybe62 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:06 pm I do live in a privately owned council house and I think maybe the contractors assumed it was still council owned - in which case there wouldn't be a problem.
This situation often leads to a complex scenario. You need to check your deeds. When council houses are sold off, the council usually retain rights to carry out works etc on the property. These clauses enabled councils to protect the properties they retained on the development and enabled the council to keep the whole development in a reasonable condition.

Check your deeds and you will probably find that they are full of clauses retaining rights for the council. If so, you need to check with a solicitor before embarking upon any legal action because if you lose, you pay costs and if you initiate legal action, they may bill you for the works carried out.
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