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You are here: Information  > Trees and the Law Page 1

Trees and the Law - Page One

PLEASE NOTE:The advice given here is for guidance only. It must not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice. Your legal situation will depend on the individual facts of your case and you should always consult your legal advisor if you are in any doubt.

The purpose of this leaflet is to give simple guidance on the basic elements of the law as it affects trees.

Owners rights and responsibilities

Landowners are responsible for all trees within the boundary of their property. They have a duty to maintain the trees in a safe condition. To discharge this duty an owner must ensure the trees are inspected regularly for any signs that they are unsafe. The importance of regular, detailed inspections is to minimise the likelihood of damage or injury occurring if the tree or parts of it were to fall. If the risk is high, e.g. a large old tree next to a road, the importance is much greater. An owner without specialist knowledge would be expected to employ a suitably experienced and qualified arboriculturist to inspect them every 1 to 3 years depending on the degree of risk.

Overhanging branches
Trees that overhang property boundaries may be pruned back by the neighbour to the boundary line but no further. However this is bad practice as it may not enable the principles of good pruning to be applied. It is far better to get agreement from the owner to prune the tree properly. The cut branches must be offered back to the tree owner. If the tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or growing in a Conservation Area you must get written approval from the Local Council beforehand.

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