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Trees & The Law

tree sunset

Do you have a troublesome tree that you feel needs to be cut down? Planning development work on a site with a tree? An overgrown tree or storm damaged tree which are starting to cause a hazard? Or is your neighbour’s tree crossing your boundary? In almost all instances, trees are protected by the law and if you have any of these issues you need to go about solving them by following the correct legal procedure to prevent prosecution.

Tree Preservation Orders

Some trees have been made subject to a tree preservation order which means you are exceptionally restricted in regards to any actions you can take on this tree, even basic pruning is difficult. A tree preservation order will mean that your local authority can protect this tree and if you do want to cut it down or prune it you will need to seek permission for this. As a result, if you are not sure about the legal status of any tree always find out if an order has been placed before any work commences. Failure to do so may result in a prosecution and a fine.

Conservation Areas

If you live in a conversation area then the trees are contributing to this area and will be protected, even without the existence of a tree preservation order. If you intend on pruning or doing any work on a tree with a trunk larger than 75mm, 1.5m above the ground you must seek permission from your local authority before doing so. After giving notice you must wait for six weeks for any objections before going ahead with the proposed works. As with a tree preservation order if you do work on a tree without following this notice procedure then you can be fined and prosecuted.

If your tree is under a tree preservation order or is in a conservation area and is dead, dying or posing a risk to the public then you may find your tree is exempt from the rules above.

Neighbours trees can often prove troublesome however if the tree is not under a tree preservation order or located in a conservation area then you are in fact able to cut any parts of a tree which are hanging into your garden. If the problem goes beyond branches hanging into your garden and the tree is causing damage to your property then you should consult with a tree surgeon to address the matter.

Another issue commonly caused by neighbours trees is light and blockages caused by a tree which has grown to block a source of light to a window. This can be a complex legal matter and a solicitor would need to be consulted if you cannot come to an agreement with your neighbours.

If you are unsure about the legal status of a tree and how to go about finding out we can assist as part of the tree surgeon service which we offer.