Woodland and duty of care

Woodland and duty of care

Postby avonlass2013 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:43 pm


I am wondering whether anyone can help

We live among some beautiful woodland. It is owned by someone who lives locally but not among the woods. They own the driveway and we have rights of access. The trees and undergrowth have grown unchecked for 20 years and nothing has been spent on the woods by way of upkeep. The trees adjoining the drive are 50,60,70 foot tall and have vines growing through them. The branches stretch over the drive and a few thin branches reach over our property. I have asked whether, at my own expense, I could thin the trees to allow sunlight onto my veg patch but to no avail. One of the trees fell recently onto workmen who were standing beneath. No-one was injured they were saved from injury by a wall which took the impact. They chose not to pursue the matter and the owner promised some action but nothing has come about. The owner does not have any insurance and does not spend any monies on the woodland. We have a wall and a garage underneath the trees and were any further branches to fall would doubt whether the owner has the means to make good any damage. An generous offer to buy the woodland was rejected unacknowledged.

The owners are somewhat eccentric and not open to reason and I am wondering whether they have a duty of care or any other obligation to maintain the woods. We are expecting a child shortly and this, among other reasons, has prompted me to find out our rights and whether there are any means of redress other than taking things into our own hands which is not a course of action I want to pursue.

Most obliged to hear from anyone with constructive advice. (photos available if needed)
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Re: Woodland and duty of care

Postby Treeman » Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:29 pm

They have a duty of care but outside of reminding them of it there is little or nothing you can do

If any of the trees are immediately dangerous the council have powers to act but the danger has to be immediate.
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Re: Woodland and duty of care

Postby TO » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:45 pm


You can cut back the bits that encroach over your property, and I would expect the drive to maintain your right of access. Check that the trees aren't protected first.

There's no duty to give you light to your veg patch. They do have a duty of care to do what is reasonable in the circumstances to ensure that the trees aren't foreseeably likely to cause you harm. They still don't have to do anything though, but would face the consequences if, something happens, which had they inspected the trees would have been reasonably foreseeable and they had not acted to reduce the risk.

The Council can, but don't have to, act to deal with dangerous trees. You will have to write to the Council to let them know there's a problem. The Councils powers are discretionary, and it's only likely to act if a public place was threatened.

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