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Michael Holly
Michael Holly, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6935
Experience:  I have 20 years of experience as a solicitor in litigation and other areas
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I have a large tree in my front garden. It is 3 metres from

Customer Question

I have a large tree in my front garden. It is 3 metres from my front door and overhangs the drive and roof. It has a Tree Protection Order on it.
It is a constant source of annoyance. The roots are causing cracking and lifting to the drive. It is home to a large number of pigeons. Car and the drive are constantly subjected to pigeon droppings which need clearing up on a daily basis. The tree is also in front of the garage and partially restricts access.
I did apply to the local council for permission to have the tree trimmed back but they refused.
Do I have a right to enjoyment of my home which I may be able to invoke?
Philip Hunter.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Michael Holly replied 1 year ago.
Dear Phillip Trees , however protected , can cause damage not just subsidence but intrusion into water pipes etc.3 metres is relatively close to the house( been there!) .If you genuinely feel there is/may be a problem contact your house insurers. If they are concerned they will instruct specialist surveyors to check root intrusion and any potential damage.Best wishesMichael
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Michael,Thank you for your response.I know I will have to apply for planning permission to remove this tree and as the removal of Tree Protection Orders are rarely granted I will then have to go to appeal. So, what I really would like to know is what grounds I may be able to use. The tree is without doubt a nuisance. Is there a" Right to Enjoyment" of my property or something similar which I may be able to use as an argument?The most annoying problem is with the excessive amount of pigeon droppings on the drive and cars (we often park the cars on the front lawn). We have to hose down and scrub the drive two or three times each week which takes an hour or so each time. This is rather tiresome.Many thanks.
Philip Hunter.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
2nd attempt.........Hello Michael,Thank you for your response.I know I will have to apply for planning permission to remove this tree and as the removal of Tree Protection Orders are rarely granted I will then have to go to appeal. So, what I really would like to know is what grounds I may be able to use. The tree is without doubt a nuisance. Is there a" Right to Enjoyment" of my property or something similar which I may be able to use as an argument?The most annoying problem is with the excessive amount of pigeon droppings on the drive and cars (we often park the cars on the front lawn). We have to hose down and scrub the drive two or three times each week which takes an hour or so each time. This is rather tiresome.Many thanks.
Philip Hunter.
Expert:  Michael Holly replied 1 year ago.
Dear PhilipApologies the first response simply did not register although there are both in the trail.This is an interesting one . The first thought is that no one can really stop birds from electing certain trees to nest in and therefore what is the local authority supposed to do about it.However , it might be possible to argue that the tree ( particularly given that they refuse to cut it back) represents a nuisance, bird droppings are toxic and cause damage to cars and property. So we have the basis of an argument but need to show what reasonable action can be taken by the Local Authority to abate the nuisance. As far as that is concerned only removing the tree will stop the harm.Overall my feeling is that the potential damage to the property is the best route, your mortgage companies security is at risk and your insurers are potentially facing a hefty bill for subsidence should the situation be allowed to develop.I have dealt with many such cases and with a mature tree 3 metres away from the property roots will surely be found under the house.Best regardsMichael
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dear *****,Thank's for your reply.It is permission to remove the tree on the grounds of nuisance I am looking to achieve. Have you any knowledge of this being successful. Can it be regarded as a Statutory Nuisance in that "it interferes with the legitimate use and enjoyment of land" ?
I have read that the minimum recommended distance for Beech trees from domestic dwellings is at least 14 metres (Leeds City Council Guidance - March 2011) but I have seen others.I note your recommendation re my Insurance provider but am not sure about that route at the moment as I have just changed providers. Also, the property was underpinned in 1986 (I purchased the property in 2013) so I don't know how strong this argument would be.There is no mortgage on the property.I would appreciate any further thoughts you may have before I go ahead with contacting my Local Council.Kind regards.Phil Hunter.