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Trees and the Law - Page Three

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 Right to Light
The "right to light" is often quoted in relation to trees cutting out light to adjacent property. Whilst there is an established right in the case of new buildings obstructing light there is no clear precedent that trees cutting out light can infringe a persons "right to light".

Statutory Controls on Tree Work and Felling

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)
TPOs are made under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 in respect of trees which are of particular amenity value. A copy of the order is served on the owner of the tree and other people affected by the trees e.g. adjoining landowners.

It is an offence to damage, cut down or prune any tree that is subject to a TPO without the written consent of the Local Council. A written application must be made to the Council detailing the exact nature of work required. The Council´s arboriculturist will usually visit the site to decide if the works are appropriate. Applications must propose work which is in accordance with good arboricultural practice. The Council´s arboriculturist can provide advice on good tree care practice.

Conservation Areas
Trees in Conservation Areas over 75mm in diameter measured 1.5 metres above the ground are also protected and it is an offence to damage, cut down or prune such trees without giving written notice of the intended works to the Local Council. The law requires owners to give six weeks written notice during which time the work cannot be carried out. If the Council are unable to approve the work detailed in the notice it must make a Tree Preservation Order to protect the tree.

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