Thank you very much for the above. You can cut back any overhanging branches and return the same to the neighbour without their permission to the extent that any parts of the trees overhang your garden.
In terms of the height of the confiers which are not overhanging your garden, there are provisions in the Anti Social Behaviour Act that deal with evergreen trees of this type. It provides that if the planting of evergreen trees or shrubs prevents reasonable enjoyment of your property, you can make a complaint to the local authority who have the power to take action under the above Act and can order that the trees are reduced to a height of no more than 2 m. The Local Authority are entitiled to make a charge for this service which most do but it is not normally an unreasonable in amount. A council officer will following a application by you attend to inspect and make a report and will then recommend action. If the council serves a notice to reduce the height of the shrubs, the notice is legally binding on the neighbour and he can be prosecuted for non compliance.
Unfortunately the above approach will not apply to the poplar trees as it can be only used for evergreen shrubs. However there is an alternative approach using the civil law but it is generally less reliable than the above because you have to show that the trees are reducing your light substantively through one or more of your windows (your garden does not count here) and that you have a right to light over your neighbours land. You may have a right to light if there is an express right in your title deeds or you may have a right if you have enjoyed a right to light over the neighbour's land for more than 20 years continuously. If you believe you can show this then you can seek to apply for an injunction to require the neighbour on whose land the poplar trees are growing to prevent further loss of light and to reduce their height so as to restore the level of light you are enjoying through your windows up until recently. if you decide you wish to attempt this, you can apply for an injunction using the following form and there is a fee of £155 to pay with the application:
Of course, better still you would be able to agree with the neighbours in question a management plan for the trees without recourse to the courts perhaps agreeing to share the cost of some tree surgery and so as not to allow the matter to escalate to a dispute however the above approaches are available to you should friendly discussions not produce fruit.
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