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Large trees encroaching into garden


nickm911

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This is a little different to the typical 'my neighbours trees are hanging over'.

Key points;

  • I bought the property in 2021, and the trees were present then. 
  • The land is owned by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, and is whats they call a "Conservation Park"
  • The trees are around 40 feet high, and overhang the garden by about 15 feet (about half of the garden).
  • I have nothing in the deeds or other documentation that mentions anything about the trees or their upkeep. 
  • I emailed the trust last year asking if they could trim the trees so they no longer over hang the garden (I dont really mind the height). Their reply was that they review the review the trees once a year and if they deem them to need cutting, they will. Alternately I can pay for someone to cut the trees back. 

My main concern is damage to people or property. There have been a few large branches fall in the wind, fortunately no damage was done.
Do I have any legal right to demand the trees are cut back?

IBB.CO

Image 20230625-201915 hosted in ImgBB

Doc1.pdf

Edited by nickm911
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Yes you do. They amount to a trespass and you are entitled to lop the branches until they no longer overhang your garden.

I would suggest that you obtain a quote for this. Two quotes will be better – and then provide them to the Trust and inform them that you have contacted them already, that they have been uncooperative – that you're not prepared to do things according to their timescale.
The on their advice you are preparing to have the trees cut down by your own people that you will be looking to the trust for reimbursement and you are providing to quotations.

If they think they can do a cheaper job then they should respond within seven days and object to the quotations and come up with their alternative suggestions.
Tell them that the quotation will be not only for lopping the branches but also for the removal of the branches from your property and that they will be returned to the trust – once again at their expense.

 

 

You could also say that you prefer to get things done amicably so you are inviting them around for a cuppa tea to discuss the matter and you would suggest that that would be the best way forward

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Purely from a stylistic point of view, you have used the word concern that these five times before I gave up counting.

I wouldn't bleat on about health and safety. It sounds a bit pompous and also invokes rules which you don't particularly know – nor do I.

Simply talk about the danger. Emphasise danger – dangerous condition.

Also, you have drawn their attention to this before and if I were you I'd start off by referring to this. I think it's very important to emphasise that you have tried to deal with them before.

 

Quote

As you know, the issue of the danger posed by the trees which are overhanging my property has been drawn to your attention a year ago and you responded that blah blah blah…

Why haven't you simply got a written report? You should have a written report and quotation. Not simply refer them to a telephone number which they can call

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I too have a very overgrown tree overhanging my back fence. I have written to the occupiers (I don’t know if house is owned or rented) on two occasions and politely raised my concerns. I asked that if they were not the owners could they kindly pass on my letters to the owner/landlord; no replies received.

 

Last year I paid tree surgeons to cut down the overgrowth on my side but it has regrown and the tree itself is looking dangerously high, causing a lot of movement in the strong winds we have encountered this year, with some larger branches looking to be on the verge of breaking. I have sought advice from the local council, but again no response so far.

As well as the above, the tree sheds it leaves all over the back area of my garden leaving considerable mess as the leaves rot for me to clear up.

is there any way to go from here please?

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  • 6 months later...

Thanks. 

I sent the Nottinghamshire wildlife trust an email this week as suggested above, outlining the concerns of the dangerous condition, the quote/report from a tree surgeon. I also included a few photos that shows high broken branches. 
This was the reply I received.

 

Quote

Thank you for your email and I am sorry to hear of your continued concerns in relation to the overhanging trees at your property.

 

Every tree will provide an inherent risk over its life, and this presents a challenge to land managers where people are close to trees or woodlands under their management. Our reserve team therefore conduct annual tree safety inspections across our nature reserves and where appropriate we will deliver management to control the risks identified, however we cannot fell or manage every tree that raises the concerns, otherwise we would have no wooded areas left across our reserves, and we do not have the resource to routinely trim back branches that encroach over the boundaries of over 40 nature reserves.

 

The trees at Beacon Hill Conservation Park will have therefore had tree safety surveys completed since you had contacted the Trust and if work has not been delivered it will have been because the survey did not find the specific tree to be considered dangerous at the time of the survey. The latest survey was by a third party arborist who produced a report that has identified trees that require work this winter, the trees identified for removal have been tagged with a red spot so it is therefore possible that the tree in question will be included within this winter’s programme, particularly as it is located next to residential property – this work is due to commence in the next 2 weeks.

 

The Level 4 Arborist Report was a requirement set out by the Planning Authority for us to gain consent to deliver management to the trees within the woodland at Beacon Hill Conservation Park. All of the trees within the woodland area are covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), the order, which is set up by the Planning Authority, prohibits the cutting down, lopping, uprooting or wilful damage to a protected tree or trees without their formal written consent. It would therefore be an offence to deliver any of this work without their consent, with the potential for up to unlimited fines depending on the level of the offence.

 

Therefore, while a neighbour would usually have the right to cut back vegetation growth which extends over the property boundary, with the TPO in place at Beacon Hill you would first require consent from the Planning Authority and the work would need to be delivered at the appropriate time of year. Assuming consent was given, and the work delivered at the appropriate time of year this would be fine. However, if the contractor intended to work from our property, we would need to review the work and provide consent so that we can ensure the work was delivered in such a way that it does not pose a significant risk to the contractor, visitors or property. We would not however be liable for the costs incurred for the delivery of the work.

 

However, with the work due to take place in the next two weeks it would be worth checking whether the tree has been marked as it would therefore be due to be removed. 

 

Regards

 

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On 27/06/2023 at 14:10, BankFodder said:

 so you are inviting them around for a cuppa tea to discuss the matter

This is a good idea; make sure to have tea in the garden. Then they might see your point of view, drinking tea with a 40-foot tree hanging over their shoulder. Especially if the wind picks up...

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Just now, Grotesque said:

This is a good idea; make sure to have tea in the garden. Then they might see your point of view, drinking tea with a 40-foot tree hanging over their shoulder. Especially if the wind picks up...

My email said they are welcome to visit and view the trees from my side. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a slight update on this. 
The Notts Trust hired a 3rd party to review and fell trees in the conservation area just recently. 
Unfortunately they didn't touch the tree that hangs over my garden, but they did close all the footpaths that run behind there and put up these signs. 

I think this give more weight to my argument that the trees need removing

Screenshot-2024-02-07-110039.png

 

Edited by nickm911
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They certainly seem to have owned up to the fact that they are a) legally responsible for a tree overhanging your property, per their correspondence, and b) it is which may collapse at any minute, per their very official signs.

As you suggest, if these trees are dangerous enough to forbid the general public proximity to, they are surely equally too dangerous to allow encroachment onto private property.

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