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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 18325
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I have a dispute on a hedge boundary height issue.

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I have a dispute on a hedge boundary height issue. Neighbour's are threatening a court injunction against me. Can they do this?
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: I have maintained the height to an agreed level for 20 years. I had the trunks cut to 13ft last year and will have the trees/ hedge cut again tomorrow. They want it to be 2m plus a foot which is too low ...hence their threats and harassment letters
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: Devon
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Just advice on where i stand really..

Welcome to Just Answer.

I will be happy to assist with your question today. I need some time to consider this and compose a response. There is NO need to wait online because you will get an email when I respond. Sometimes it will be minutes, sometimes longer.

I apologise for any unavoidable delay, but rest assured I have not forgotten your question.

what is the species of hedge - leyandii/fir or a decidous type?

and what was the agreed height till now?

F E Smith and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Leyandi...please advice if you need any additional information...thanks again
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Actually no formal agreement in writing specifically staying the height but has been maintained at around 4/5 metres....it is currently 13ft to top of trunks as was this height after last cut last june..it is being maintained further tomorrow ...

This is a very common question. A person cannot make an adjoining property owner cut the trees per se but please see my later comments about trespass and nuisance.

Consent is needed to trim deciduous trees which are protected by a Tree Preservation Order and a licence may be needed to fell trees which are not protected by a TPO.

Evergreens cannot usually have a TPO.

Regarding evergreens, a complaint can be made to the council and they will deal with them under the nuisance tree legislation but only with regard to the height. They want £300 fee to start the process and if they find that the trees are a nuisance, they can compel a tree owner to cut them down to 2 m high.

With regard to branches and roots growing boundary,(evergreen or deciduous) these are nuisance and trespass. The overhanging pieces can be chopped off as can roots growing underground but they do not belong to anyone other than the tree owner, so the pieces should be given back although if they are unceremoniously dumped over their hedge without warning, it is not good for already fraught neighbour relations.

If a complainant is not capable of doing this themselves or do not want to do it themselves, they can charge the neighbour for the cost of doing the work provided they give the neighbour notice that if they don’t trim it, they will get someone in to do it.

They are not allowed to kill the tree or cut the roots back so far that they can destabilise it.

The following are links will give you some reading with regard to high hedges and nuisance trees. Don't worry about where the sites are geographically because the rules apply nationwide.

http://www.richmond.gov.uk/home/environment/planning/high_hedges/high_hedges_frequently_asked_questions.htm

http://www.tameside.gov.uk/planning/highhedges

http://www.gardenlaw.co.uk/trees.html

So depending on what they are aware they are the neighbour can get the local authority to compel you to cut them down to 2 m. Please note it is down to 2 m), it does not mean that they are automatically 2 metres. Depending on the location they could be cut down to say, 4 metres.

A lot comes down to whether with them at 4/5 m, they are literally nuisance.

I am glad to help.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand.

I would be more than happy to clarify anything else for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please be aware that my answer is based strictly upon the information you have given me.

If you still need any points clarifying, I will be happy to reply because the thread does not close. In fact, it remains open indefinitely.

I am always happy to answer any further questions you have on any new thread in which case, please start your question with, “ For FES only”.

That only applies to new threads, not this one. You have me exclusively on this one.

Thank you.

Best wishes.

FES

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
For FES only ...thanks for your time earlier...just a couple of things i meant to ask ...1) the guy is renting his property..does that make any difference to proposed court action by him? 2) the hedge runs along the back gardens if 3 properties..is one person allowed to represent all 3 in one action or would they have to be separate actions? Thanks again
Richard

There is no reason why all 3 actions cannot be conjoined. Waste of court time having three court cases all based upon the same facts.

However it would be three claimants in court, none of them can represent the other because they are not solicitors and litigation is a reserved activity.

It would divide the legal costs in three though so less risk for each of them.

The occupier still has a claim in common-law nuisance even though they do not own the property

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Thanks

No problem at all. I am glad to help. Please come back to me at any time if anything needs clarification. Kind regards.