How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Stuart J Your Own Question
Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 22195
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
Type Your UK Law Question Here...
Stuart J is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a large garden which has a Tree Preservation Order placed

Customer Question

I have a large garden which has a Tree Preservation Order placed on it.
On one of my boundaries there is an estate of houses, the owners of which have told me, in writing, that they are concerned that some of the trees appear to be old and they fear they might fall on their properties in high winds. In fact some smaller branches have recently fallen.
A number of branches overhang their properties.
They have also indicated that they are concerned by the number of leaves and saplings which they need to remove from their gardens because of the overhanging trees.
Their light is also affected.
I have spoken to the local Council "tree officer" who has suggested that I undertake a full survey of the trees and carry out the recommendations of the report, after having obtained the required consents from the council. He has not seen the trees.
In discussions with the "tree officer" I suggested an easier solution might be that I apply to have the trees felled and that would alleviate the requirement of a survey and partial cutting of the trees.
He suggested that the council would reject this, as the trees are a visual amenity.
Having said that we have hundreds of trees in our garden.
I am concerned that I could be required to carry out very long term expensive maintainence of the trees.
The tree officer has cited BS 3998 and indicated that it is my responsibility to maintain the well-being of the trees at my expense.
Any advice?
Desmond Ruddy
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 2 years ago.

Hello, I am Law Denning and I am a practising solicitor in a High
Street practice. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008.
During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions
from satisfied users on a variety of subjects.

Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other
users, I might not always respond in
, particularly evenings and weekends. Please bear with me in that

It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me
while I gather some further information from you in order for me to be able to
advise you fully.

Unless I have all the facts that I need, my answer
would not be accurate.

why havent you had arborist report as to condition?

I need the full background details please. Thank

Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 22195
Experience: PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
Stuart J and other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your very prompt reply.

I received the letter from my neighbours two days ago.

My discussion with the local tree officer was earlier today.

Prior to that I had no indeiction from the Council that they required a

a report from a third party.

I have been in this house for 14 years, I have applied to the Council twice for planning to carry out work on trees, in the first instance it was granted, the second was refused.

On those previous applications the local tree officer came to my house and gave his reason for the decision shortly after.

I can see little reason to seek the opinion of a third party when the decision will be made by an officer of the Council.

Desmond Ruddy


Expert:  Stuart J replied 2 years ago.

Leave the tree preservation
order aside for a moment.

The tree is potentially
dangerous and therefore if anything falls off it as a result of you failing to
maintain it, and it injures someone, you are liable.

The first thing I would do is
write to the council and tell them that in your opinion the tree is dangerous
and it should be pruned. I would get the neighbour to write to the council in
the same terms.

Both letters need to say that
if anyone is injured as a result of the Council's refusal to let you prune the
tree, you give the council notice that they will be held liable in negligence.

That is the cheapest approach
that you can take.

Unfortunately, at this stage,
you don't have anything to back up your opinion unless you are a tree expert
which I imagine you are not.

It is the cost of the
arborist report which is the sticking point.

You are liable for the cost
of pruning the tree. However without the TPO, you could prune it. What you
could not do of course is fell it (TPO
or not) because to cut such an amount of timber still needs a licence in any
event. It is one of the burdens you have of owning a house with large trees.

What you could do is tell the
council that you are quite happy to get an arborist report and if the arborist
report confirms your view, you will seek the cost of it from the council. You
are of course liable what any work which needs to be done on the tree

There is one final thing you
can do what it is long winded and expensive and that is to apply to the court
for judicial review of the Council's decision not to let you prune the tree.


Does that answer the
question? I am happy to answer specific points.

Can I help further?

don't forget to positively rate my answer service (even if it was not what you
want to hear).

If you don't rate it positively, then the site keep your deposit and I get 0
for my time. It is imperative that you give my answer a positive rating. I

t doesn't give me, "a pat on the head", "good boy" (like ebay), it is my

If in ratings you feel that you expected more or it only helped a little,
please ask.

I am
offline shortly until later today and will pick this up then if needed

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your message.

I will write to the Council today and follow your suggestions.


One other point,

A number of branchs and the trunk of at least one tree are hanging over the boundary, can these be removed without seeking permission from the Council?

Expert:  Stuart J replied 2 years ago.

Unfortunately, no, purely because there is a TPO on it.


On a
slightly different note, I was reading my local paper recently (at the weekend
in fact) and a guy in Chester had been fined £20,000 for cutting down a Yew
tree in the front garden of some flats which he owned.

It would
give the residents more parking space.

However as
a result of having more premium parking space he will get more rent and the
reality is that within two years he will have recouped is £20,000!

I'm not
suggesting for one minute that you should take a chainsaw to the tree but give
you that as an example of the kind of finds that can be levied for breaches so
be extremely careful



JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • A quick response, a succinct and helpful answer in simple English. I believe I can now confront the counter party with confidence -- worth the 30 bucks! Rick Leeds, UK
< Previous | Next >
  • A quick response, a succinct and helpful answer in simple English. I believe I can now confront the counter party with confidence -- worth the 30 bucks! Rick Leeds, UK
  • I did not know a French Law service existed and I was very impressed with the speed of reply --- very professional. Many thanks! Ms. Baker Alfafar, Spain
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie USA
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC

Meet The Experts:

  • Ben Jones

    Ben Jones

    UK Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
< Last | Next >
  • Ben Jones's Avatar

    Ben Jones

    UK Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
  • INC's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    LL.B, Pg.Dip, LL.M, M.B.A (Pending), Solicitor-Advocate. UK Practising Certificate issued by SRA., DIFC Courts Registered (Dubai)
  • Jenny Mackenzie's Avatar

    Jenny Mackenzie

    Satisfied Customers:

    Over 10 years experience in general legal matters
  • Matthew J's Avatar

    Matthew J


    Satisfied Customers:

    4 y PQE (Partner) - Commercial / Residential Property & Property and Civil litigation experience
  • Stuart J's Avatar

    Stuart J


    Satisfied Customers:

    PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
  • Clare's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    family solictor with 25 years experience
  • Thomas's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor