Leaf, Blossom etc. Fall from Trees
Can the council come and clear leaves, blossom or natural detritus that has fallen on to my property from a council owned tree?
Leaf, blossom and other natural detritus loss from trees is a seasonal occurrence, and they can travel some distance before coming to rest, particularly if it’s windy. It is not the responsibility of the tree owner, in this case the council, to clear leaves that have fallen onto a neighbour’s land. This cannot be prevented by pruning.
The council will routinely clear leaves from hard surfaces in well used public areas eg. streets, paths and areas of hard standing in Parks but not from private land. The landowner is responsible for any leaves etc. that fall onto their land not the owner of the tree that dropped the leaves. The council will take responsibility for clearing leaves that fall from privately owned trees onto council land as well as from council owned trees. For further information about how the Council dispose of leaves please click here.
TV and Satellite Reception
A tree is blocking Satellite or TV reception, do I have a right to have the tree owner prunes or removes the tree?
There is no legal obligation for a tree owner such as the council to prune or remove trees for reasons of loss of satellite or TV reception to adjacent properties. A television licence allows a property to legally receive television signals but does not guarantee reception or quality of broadcast signal.
A tree is blocking sunlight to a garden, do I have the right to have the tree owner prune or remove the tree?
There is no legal obligation for a property owner to prune or remove their trees for reasons of light loss to a neighbouring property. A ‘right to light’ is difficult to prove and only refers to buildings and light, not to gardens and sunlight.
A tree has grown and is blocking a view, do I have the right to have the tree owner prune or remove the tree?
There is no legal obligation for a property owner to prune or remove their trees to improve the view to a neighbouring property.
A tree on adjacent land I feel has grown too tall, do I have the right to have it reduced in height or removed?
Trees are not necessarily dangerous just because they're big or tall or because they are situated within falling distance of buildings and roads. Trees in general do not collapse because of their height alone. It is usually because the trees are dead or dying or have a root or basal issue that is liable to pre-dispose the tree to fail.
There is little that a neighbour can do within law, to have the height of a tree reduced that is growing on adjacent land, without the tree owner's permission. If safety is an issue, then this must be brought to the attention of the tree owner/s so an inspection can be made by a competent person and any appropriate safety works identified and undertaken.
How do I know who owns a tree?
The tree belongs to whomever owns the land in which the tree is growing.
If you are still unsure of the ownership of the tree/s that concern you, for a small fee you can carry out a Land Registry Search, which will tell you to whom the land belongs to (if it has a registered owner).
The Land Registry can be contacted online here or by telephone:0300 006 0411
What can be done about overhanging branches from a tree growing on neighbouring land?
You have a common law right to remove (abate) the nuisance associated with trees encroaching onto your property. The following advice is given if you wish to exercise your common law right with respect to encroaching trees:
a) You can only consider removing those parts of the tree where they cross the boundary, you do not have the legal right to remove any part of a tree that does not overhang your property.
b) You are strongly advised to consult a professional tree surgeon for guidance on how best to prune back encroaching trees, unless the works are trivial meaning you could do the works with hand secateurs or similar.
c) It is essential that you find out before doing any works to trees whether the trees are protected by a Tree Preservation Order or are within a Conservation Area. If trees are protected you will need to gain consent by making an application / give notice to the council. For further information please refer to the Bath &NES council’s website http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/environment/trees-and-woodlands
d)To find out if trees are protected, please visit https://isharemaps.bathnes.gov.uk/atmycouncil.aspx
Tree roots have been found in a drain, has the tree damaged the drain?
Tree roots can only grow through gaps so will grow into a drain that is already broken or damaged. Trees very rarely damage or break the drains in the first place. If tree roots are found in a drain it is usually symptomatic of an underlying problem requiring repairs to the drain.