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Lancashire County Council - Highways Act 1980 Section 154 Notice


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Hi,

I live on a main road in a property with a large garden. I received a Highways Act 1980 Section 154 notice from Lancashire County Council Highways Department dated 17th June which says trees overhanging the footway located on my property are interfering with the free passage of pedestrians (see attached LCC-Highways-17-06-22.pdf). It wants me to arrange the vegetation to be cut back within 14 days of the date of the letter and says it should be a minimum of 2.1m above the footway and 5.5m above the highway.

There are two pictures included which do show overhanging vegetation from my property. I don't feel these offer much in the way of 'evidence'. There are no dates - one is clearly earlier than the other due to the lack of leaves and neither has anything to show what level the offending vegetation is at.

The property is in a conservation area so permission is needed for any tree pruning, but I didn't know until I spoke to the local council that since this is effectively a legal notice served via an act of Parliament - I don't require permission. I've measured and my wall on the left of the pictures is 2.1m high. I keep the vegetation cut back level with the wall, therefore this doesn't actually breach the minimum stipulated? I've since taken images showing the height of the wall with a tape measure and cut back a bit extra plus some of the higher tree branches now I know I'm allowed to. As I believe that otherwise, Lancashire County Council could carry out the work and bill me for it.

I've researched the legislation and it seems to be designed to protect the public against danger, obstruction etc. for example if vegetation on a junction was preventing other road users from being seen, was forcing pedestrians into the road, they could hit their head on it etc. I'd like to know are Lancashire County Council abusing their statutory powers in this instance? seems very gung-ho? I've read that other councils go down the informal route before serving a Section 154 notice?

I also spoke to a couple of people locally, they believe I may have received this as there is a bus stop against my wall and bus drivers have not been stopping to let passengers off as they can't see it (first I've heard of this). I've looked at the bus stop and the sign appears to be in poor condition/vandalised. The side seen from driving up the road is black and coming off in one corner, it looks to have been hit from the opposite side (which is pretty much blank) and is tilted at an angle, see attached Bus-Stop-Pictures-Jun-22.pdf.

Finally, I had a very similar Section 154 Notice in July 2019 (see attached LCC-Highways-09-07-18.pdf) but this time for the back street. I made a phone call to the name on the letter (no direct dial.. hmm) and sent an email:

 

- Letter referred to vegetation/hedge - but on the phone they said trees

- There were no pictures provided

- Didn't stipulate how much to cut back

- Gave me the name and address of the complainant (data breach)?

- The complaint was 'the trees are touching telephone wires and blocking sunlight for periods of the day'

 

The icing on the cake was when they sent the pictures - they were for trees belonging to another property 80m away. When I informed them of this they wanted my help to establish the owner of the vegetation.. the cheek! Due to life events at the time I dropped it but was obviously fuming!

Thanks in advance,
chaoticj

 

LCC-Highways-17-06-22.pdf Bus-Stop-Pictures-Jun-22.pdf LCC-Highways-09-07-19.pdf

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could it be that the vegetation is preventing the busses from stopping without hitting them as they swing in to the bus stop?

 

i had a similar 154 many years ago in an old property and the complaint originated from the bus company as they were using new higher vehicles but of course was made to the council as they are responsible for the highways inc the pavement upto your property boundary

 

might be worthy to investigate that route?

 

 

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Presumably the tree shown in the photos is yours? 

 

Wouldn't it be better for you to cut back the tree(s) yourself to the height required rather than let LCC do the work and bill you for it? I bet LCC's bill will more than you could get it done for yourself.

 

Just guessing here, but it seems unlikely the bus drivers can't see the bus stop sign and don't know where to stop. More likely if they don't stop it's because the overhanging tree branches would hit the bus if they pulled in, especially if it's double decker buses on the route.

 

Sorry, but I can't see how what happened in 2019 is relevant.

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Hi @dx100uk I have seen plenty of buses stop @Ethel Street I think it's possible a double decker could come into slight contact with some of the higher branches, but until now I was under the impression I couldn't prune anything without permission from the local council.

I've actually pruned just above the height of the wall which is the minimum 2.1m for above the pavement and got on a ladder with my telescopic tree pruners and attempted to cut the minimum 5.5m above the road - that was the tricky part. But yes, I'd much rather do it myself and not get billed.

I'll get in touch with Lancashire County Council Highways to let them know I've complied and seek a bit of clarification on the exact issue. I was really interested to know whether they are abusing their statutory powers sending these 'form letter' notices, that's why I provided the previous 2019 example - as in fact it wasn't even my vegetation that had been complained about!

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:rockon:

  • Confused 1

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Thanks for update.

 

I can't think of a reason why LCC could be abusing their statutory powers. There seems to be no requirement in law or guidance for them to make an informal approach before issuing a formal s154 notice.

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