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John LLB
John LLB, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1192
Experience:  8 years legal experience
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Highway England damaged a row of hedge trees in our property

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Highway England damaged a row of hedge trees in our property to install a road sign. Can we claim compensation. the tree were very old, expensive and cannot now grow back. Any advice?
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this? In which country do you live? If different, which country is your legal question related to?
Customer: UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Lodged a complain with Highways England.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
File attached (6T7M43Z)
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I'm sure Highways may argue that our tree were overhanging the border. I'm unsure if they were. Nevertheless, the Highways team did not notify us, communicate with u, ask us the trim the trees or provide any warning that they were going to cut into the tree, and into our property. We work from home. They didn't even knock not he door to talk about.
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Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I'll wait another day or so. Thanks.

Hello thanks for your patience, lets see if I can help.

To claim compensation, you will need to satisfy that Highways England has been negligent in damaging the trees. Negligence has four elements to be satisfied:

1) Having a duty of care

2) Breaching that duty of care

3) The breach has caused damage

4) That damage resulted in loss

I cannot view the files attached, unfortunately, but if you can show that what they have done has satisfied the above criteria thereby resulting in foreseeable loss then you will have good grounds to claim against them for your loss.

You will need to first quantify the damages you are claiming, and have supporting evidence where applicable; this can be pictures, dates and time of their actions, correspondence, video evidence etc. Also retain all correspondence between you and them going forward incase you need to refer to it in future.

There are 2 steps to seeking compensation. The first will be to lodge it with their complaints department. More information can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/highways-england/about/complaints-procedure

The second is to take court action. In this case, what you will need to do is write them a formal “Letter of claim”. In this letter you will need to state the amount you are seeking to recover and the reasons why. You will also need to give them a deadline to raise the payment by, usually it is 14 days in which to receive payment.

If payment is not received within 14 days, then you will need to issue a claim against them in the small claims court. You can do it by post by using form N1 which you can find here Form N1: Make a claim against a person or organisation (Claim form CPR Part 7) - GOV.UK and posting it to:

County Court Money Claims Centre

PO Box 527

Salford

Greater Manchester

M5 0BY

Due to the value of the claim you do not need a solicitor and can do this yourself. Once you issue the claim, interest will be added onto the amount from the day you issue until the date judgment is awarded. This is pursuant to section 69 of the County Court Act 1984. There will be an issue fee to pay, but you will recover this back.

It may very well be that the letter of claim you send will make them pay promptly and you do not need to issue, but incase they don’t pay you, then the letter of claim enables you to be able to start proceedings against them.

Does this help? I hope so but please let me know. Please also leave a rating for me. You can do this by clicking the stars at the top of the page. Thank you.

John LLB, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1192
Experience: 8 years legal experience
John LLB and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Hi John, thank you very much for the response. It helps tremendously. Just two questions.
These are large 30 year hedge trees that have been damaged. So the value of damage is quite high given we need to remove the trees and plant replacements. To replace these 5 trees like for like tree could cost 10 thousand pounds or more. So my questions are: Would that change the approach of doing this via the small claims court, or alter the process? Would that alter your advice in any way on how to proceed?Secondly, if some of the trees were overhanging the footpath, would that alter whether the property is ours or Highways? Would there be any counter Highways can use because of that?Thanks again, this is tremendous help.Regards,
Andrew

My pleasure.

To address your questions

1) It would not change the approach. The online facility to make a claim is for up to £100, 000 but you will need to use this link https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome but you can also do it using the N1 form by post. However, if the value does exceed £10,000 you can instruct a solicitor to act for you which you can find here https://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/

2) If it is overhanging, it is still your property as the trees belong to those whose land it is on. However, if it is overhanging on public property they are allowed to cut them back to the boundary point (as long as the trees are not under a tree preservation order). It is difficult to know what defence, if any, that Highways will use, but if you are anticipating a dispute, I would recommend instructing a solicitor.

Hope this helps.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Many thanks John. Very clear. We will get started.

Welcome, all the best. John.