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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8445
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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Our house is very near a poultry farm. They intend to trim a

Customer Question

Our house is very near a poultry farm. They intend to trim a line of conifers which hide the poultry houses from our house. They need lopping but we want an assurance that the poultry farm will not take them down too far, thus exposing the poultry houses and devaluing our property. They also help to block some of the noise and smell. What can we do?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 4 months ago.

Are the trees on their land or your land?

Have you offered to pay to have the work done yourself to put you in control of it?

How tall are they now and how far down do you think they will go?

Has anyone else complained about these trees?

Was the poultry farm there when you moved into the property?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The trees are on land belonging to the poultry farm.
We certainly have not offered to pay
They are now very tall and will probably have to go down by at least 20 feet. Any more than that we will be totally exposed to the poultry houses.
We are the only neighbour involved.
The poultry farm was there before we moved into the property.
We were told by the previous owners of this house that the poultry farm in question was a refrigeration plant, but they are long dead.
We have approached the owner and have had a negative response. He does not seem to care that it will devalue our property. Does the environment agency have any powers?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 4 months ago.

The Environmental Agency may be able to do something about this depending on the level of the smell. If the smell was there when you moved into the property that you do not have a claim in nuisance because you came to the nuisance rather than nuisance coming to you afterwards. You would have a claim if the smell was worse now than it was when you moved in but it’s very difficult to prove that something like the smell is worse now than it was before. The Environmental agency do have the powers to compel the farm to reduce the smell if it believes that it is above an acceptable level.

Unfortunately, the neighbouring land can remove evergreen trees completely if they wish without any recourse by you or the local authority because evergreen trees are not subject to any tree preservation order. In fact, on the contrary, if the local authority believe these trees are nuisance, the owner can be compelled to cut them down to a height of 2 m.

The reason I asked whether you had offered to pay was that if you did, it would at least put you in control of what into them. It may be worthwhile speaking to the owner and offering to pay the cost or part of the cost provided he does it to a certain level. Be aware that tree surgery and getting rid of the rubbish is not cheap.

Unfortunately, there is no action you can bring in respect of any alleged devaluation of your property as a result of the trees being cut down dramatically or even removed.

I’m sorry, I wish I could give you a more favourable answer, but that’s the situation.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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We can still exchange emails.

Best wishes.

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