This is a very common question. A
person cannot make an adjoining property owner cut the trees per se but please
see my later comments about trespass and nuisance.
Consent is needed to trim
deciduous trees which are protected by a Tree Preservation Order and a licence
may be needed to fell trees which are not protected by a TPO.
Evergreens cannot usually have a
Regarding evergreens, a complaint
can be made to the council and they will deal with them under the nuisance tree
legislation but only with regard to the height. They want £300 fee to start the process and if they
find that the trees are a nuisance, they can compel a tree owner to cut them
down to 2 m high.
With regard to branches and roots
growing boundary,(evergreen or deciduous) these are nuisance and trespass. The
overhanging pieces can be chopped off as can roots growing underground but they
do not belong to anyone other than the tree owner, so the pieces should be
given back although if they are unceremoniously dumped over their hedge without
warning, it is not good for already fraught neighbour relations.
The following are links will give
you some reading with regard to high hedges and nuisance trees. Don't worry
about where the sites are geographically because the rules apply nationwide.
With regard to the other tree, I think you
can use this to your advantage. Firstly, let me tell you that this is likely to
have a tree preservation order on it and if it does, you need a licence before
you do any trimming.
If it is your tree, then you are indeed
liable to maintain it but with regard to them asking you to come and to collect
branches, (I don't know how big they are) I don't think a judge would be best
pleased if they took you to court to get you to remove branches which they
could easily pick up a lob over your fence.
It would be different if these are huge
branches and in that case, there is a potential issue that if someone was hurt
by one of these falling branches, who would be liable. In that respect, I think
the old title deeds would put the blame at your door.
At this stage, I would say that this is a
joint tree and they would keep quiet about the deeds. If they say no, it is
your tree, you can then say that it used to be your tree when they moved the fence
so that the fence was on the boundary with the tree, (show them the deeds and
the dimensions) they inadvertently took part control of the tree.
So, they can move the boundary back and you
will take control of the tree (if that's what you want) or leave the boundary
where it is and they are responsible for anything which falls on their side. I
am of the opinion that they cannot have their cake and eat it.
The legal situation with the land is that
once they have occupied it without consent or objection for 10 years for
registered land (12 years for unregistered land) they gain adverse possession
and can have the deeds amended to reflect the new boundary. So it really is a
case of do they want adverse possession of that land which includes the tree of
which they are complaining or not?
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