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Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I ask if the whole hedge is formed of leylandiis please?
Has the neighbour done anything beyond asking you to cut it down?
The whole length of the boundary is a mixture of trees but the section immediately behind the house is all leylandii.
no, not to my knowledge
Many thanks. Are any of the trees you refer to non evergreen trees?
The trees in "dispute are all Leylandii.
My neighbour has made no reference to cutting down the sycamore or willlow trees that that border his garden.
Many thanks. The neighbour has no legal complain in respect of non evergreen trees that border your land.
There is provision in the Anti Social Behaviour Act for a council to be asked to inspect a hedge made up of two or more evergreen trees or shrubs though they must pay a fee. The council can order that the hedge is reduced in height to 2m. This does not mean that the hedge will be ordered down to 2m. The officer has discretion in the matter.
They will need to show that the hedge is causing a significant loss of "reasonable enjoyment" of the neighbours property. The council officer will use the following guidelines:A hedge will create an area of shade next to it. The extent of this area of shade will depend on theheight and orientation of the hedge (whether it is north or south of the obstructed garden). The impacton the amenity value of the garden will depend on its size, relative to the size of the shaded patch.These guidelines apply to any type of garden, even small back yards with no lawn. They are intendedto protect light to the garden as a whole rather than particular features within it.The procedure for calculating action hedge height is as follows:i. find the effective depth of the garden (for a rectangular garden the effective depth is thedistance between the hedge and the opposite end of the garden)ii. multiply the effective depth by a factor (which will vary with the orientation of thehedge) to get the basic action hedge heightiii. make a further correction if the hedge is set back from the boundaryiv. correct for site slope if any.4.2 Hedge Height and Garden SizeThe basic action hedge height is calculated from the effective depth of the garden.The equation for non-rectangular gardens is:Effective depth = Area of garden————————————————Effective length of hedgeFor a rectangular garden, where the hedge grows along the whole length of a boundary, the effectivedepth is the distance between the boundary by the hedge and the opposite end of the garden. Wherethe length of the hedge is less than the length of the boundary it grows on, then the formula for non rectangulargardens (see above) should be used.In all cases, the area of the garden includes outhouses, greenhouses, sheds, patio and yard areas, andpaths within the garden itself. However it does not include garages, or narrow access ways (less than3m wide) for example pathways and driveways to the side of a house. For gardens which go roundthe side of a house, the area of garden should be that which has a direct view of most of the hedge(see figure 2). The impact of trees and screens within the obstructed garden is not taken into accounthere. Areas behind such a screen still count in the garden area.
The council or neighbour have no powers in relation to non evergreen trees unless they are dangerous. The neighbour can lop back any part of a tree that overhangs his property returning any lopped branches to you.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?
The boundary between the two properties will be some 25 yards in length. Approximately 10 yards on his side of the boundary is garden and the remainder is house.
Many thanks for this it is most useful. Just to clarify There is a 6ft fence between my garden and his property. The area which is garden on his side of the boundary is the section which has a mixture of trees ie sycamore, willow etc. The section of the boundary which is my garden and his house is the section which has the leylandii screen. His house is always in shade because of the leylandii and he bought the house with my trees in situ. This is not a case of the trees have grown and changed the situation. From the information supplied I believe that I am within my rights to leave the trees and to replace the tree that is damaged and allow it to grow to the same height as the others, especially as the damaged tree is in the centre of the section which is all leylandii and does not constitute an extension of the boundary covered by the evergreen trees. Am I correct?
Depending upon the measurements involved if his house is set back from the hedge then the prospect of action by the council is reduced. In any event in order to commence action, the neighbour has to pay a fee to the council which from memory is several hundred pounds so the procedure is not cheap particularly when one considers that there is no guarantee of a successful outcome for the neighbour.
The house is built at an angle to the boundary and at the nearest point it is some 3ft from the boundary. I am of the opinion that my neighbour doesn't have a leg to stand on regarding the screening by the trees as things stand. My concern is if I plant a new tree which is a replacement for one that has been removed can he claim that this is a new hedge and demand a height restriction.
The ASB Act does not distinguish between new hedges and old hedges. However if you were to plant a non evergreen tree this in any event is not covered by the ASB. In addition a single evergreen tree on its own is not covered by the Act - only where two or more evergreen trees or shrubs are placed together can the Act assist.
Thank you very much. That has been most helpful.