The very thick branches needing to be removed had to be cut very low so some were just over the fence. Contractor went to get permission but unfortunately called at the next house. Believing that permission had been granted he completed the work. Some days later I was subjected to verbal abuse from the correct neighbour and a letter followed stating that I could/would be sued for criminal damage, trespass and theft. Having now looked at the law it seems that he would be within his rights, but would the fact that the guttering was blocked and damaged and my property covered by the constant dropping of needles and seeds from the tree be a case for counter-suing?
This is a very common question. Aperson cannot make an adjoining property owner cut the trees per se but pleasesee my later comments about trespass and nuisance.
Consent is needed to trimdeciduous trees which are protected by a Tree Preservation Order and a licencemay be needed to fell trees which are not protected by a TPO.
Evergreens cannot usually have aTPO.
Regarding evergreens, a complaintcan be made to the council and they will deal with them under the nuisance treelegislation but only with regard to the height. They want £300 fee to start the process and if theyfind that the trees are a nuisance, they can compel a tree owner to cut themdown to 2 m high.
With regard to branches and rootsgrowing boundary,(evergreen or deciduous) these are nuisance and trespass. Theoverhanging pieces can be chopped off as can roots growing underground but theydo not belong to anyone other than the tree owner, so the pieces should begiven back although if they are unceremoniously dumped over their hedge withoutwarning, it is not good for already fraught neighbour relations.
If a person is unable to cut theoverhanging themselves and they have to get outside contractors in, they areentitled to recover the cost of that work from the neighbour
The following are links will giveyou some reading with regard to high hedges and nuisance trees. Don't worryabout where the sites are geographically because the rules apply nationwide.
So, whilst the neighbour may have a claim against you for criminaldamage and trespass, he has no claim against you provided your lonely cut offoverhanging pieces.
With regard to the pine needles, this is possibly cause for acounterclaim in common-law nuisance although I am not aware that any successfulclaims for leaves or pine needles have ever been before the court. It iscertainly worth trying if the neighbour does start any proceedings.
You can also defend it on the basis ofthe nuisance tree legislation that the local authority could have compelled himto cut them down to 2 m in any event, so he has not really lost anything
Does that answer the question? Can I assist further?
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