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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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I have just cut back a yew tree in my garden and was informed

Customer Question

I have just cut back a yew tree in my garden and was informed by my neighbour last night that she and a council worker went in to my garden yesterday to inspect the tree. she then informed me that she had been told that I would be prosecuted for cutting the tree back. To my knowledge there is no a TPO on the tree. Do these people have the right to come onto my property without informing me? and what right has the council worker to discuss the details with my neighbour? Thanks you Rick
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 5 years ago.
Hi my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm happy to help with your question today. Sometimes it may take me a few minutes to research the law, so please bear with me.

Was the tree wholly and completely in your garden?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The tree is planted in my garden, but was over hanging my neighbours fence. All the tree is now in my garden after I have cut it back
Expert:  Alice H replied 5 years ago.
Did you make any enquiries with th local authority to see whether a TPO was in place (or have you ascertained any information since?).
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
We moved into the house on 09/02/12 and I reviewed all the paperwork attached about to the property. There was no mention in any paperwork that any trees in my garden had TPO attached to them. No I didn't make contact with the LA as I didn't think it necessary. The tree was quite offensive blocking light in to the house and there was an unpleasant odour around it. When I cut it back there were 5 dead birds some with maggots in the tree. Rick
Expert:  Alice H replied 5 years ago.
Hi Rick

A TPO can be obtained from the Land Charges Department of the Council. The request for a copy of a TPO must be in writing and accompanied by a fee of £20. I suggest you make this enquiry as soon as possible.

Any protected tree that is dead and /or imminently dangerous can be removed without the need to submit an application to gain consent of the Council. If only part of a tree poses an imminent danger ie split or hanging limb, that part which poses the danger may be pruned without an application.

However, if the tree is protected by a TPO and you have cut it down, the burden is on you to prove that a tree was dead or imminently dangerous rests with the tree owner. It is often difficult to tell if a tree was dead or dangerous from the stump remaining after felling. If a TPO was in place and the tree was cut down without permission you could be prosecuted. The maximum penalty is a fine of £2,000.

Where no TPO exists you do not need to make an application to the Council. Also as long as the tree is wholly within your boundary you do not need consent from your neighbour or any other person.

Neither your neighbour nor the Council have the right to enter your property without your permission unless it is to save life or limb. However there is nothing wrong in law about your neighbour discussing the issue with the Council.

I hope this assists.
Alice H and other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I reserched on the net Boston DC and went through meeting minutes to see if there were any TPOs on trees in Bicker and my garden and couldn't find anything. I also looked on the net about cutting back yew trees in one's own garden and how to do it. The information I got was that you could cut them back quite hard and not kill the tree. I do not want to remove or kill the tree just cut it back. I have just had you reply and thank you for your help. Rick
Expert:  Alice H replied 5 years ago.
Strictly speaking a tree protected by a TPO does require permission before it can be loped unless it is causing imminent danger. There is no strict guidance on pruning, or how far you can prune without permission. All the legal guidance seems to suggest that any form of pruning or loping requires permission of the Council.