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Trees and the Law - Page Two

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.

Trees Obstructing The Highway
The Highways Act 1980 requires that trees and other vegetation do not obstruct the passage of users. The Highway Authority requires a minimum clearance over any part of a footpath of 2.4 metres and over any part of a road of 5.2 metres. The Highway Authority have the powers to enforce these clearances.

Tree Preservation Order
If the tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or growing in a Conservation Area you should consult the Local Council's Arboricultural Officer before carrying out any work.

Planting of Trees
Generally trees can be planted anywhere on a property and there is no requirement for trees or hedges to be set back a certain distance from the boundary. However restrictions may exist through other controls such as covenants or planning controls.

Height of Trees
There is no maximum height beyond which tree owners must not allow their trees or hedges to grow. They can be as tall as the owner wishes provided they do not cause damage to adjoining property unless restrictions are imposed through other controls such as covenants or planning conditions.

Damage by Trees
Only if a tree causes actual damage to an adjoining property can the neighbour take any action in law. Actual damage could include branches breaking gutters or dislodging roof tiles and roots causing subsidence to a building. In all cases proof would be required for an action to succeed.

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