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overhanging tree law

In the newest edition of our legal FAQ series, we help someone who’s worried that their Uncle is at risk of a potential lawsuit.

Q: My uncle’s house has a very large garden with many huge trees in it, some of which are old and look dead.

Four of the trees overhang the road and could easily fall into it and injure someone. I have warned my uncle of the possible dangers but he has done nothing at all.

What is the UK law on overhanging trees? Can you give me some advice to pass on to him in the hope that he will take heed?

A: Tell your uncle that, generally, UK law on overhanging trees stipulates that an occupier or owner of land on which there are trees is liable for any loss or damage caused by falling branches or the tree falling down.

Your uncle should be insured for such a risk. It is his job to manage any overhanging trees – and important that he does so if some are next to a road. He should have them inspected and lopped if necessary. Inspection should take place in September/October and after storms or severe weather.

Contact or look at the website of the Arboricultural Association, which provides guidance on the management of trees. If your uncle does nothing, the local council has powers to deal with trees overhanging the highway and can give notice to him to cut branches, or lop or fell the trees.

If he fails to do so, the council can carry out the work to the trees and charge him. Remember also that the trees may be subject to Tree Preservation Orders, or be situated in a conservation area, in which case the necessary consents from the local authority will be required before the problem can be dealt with.

Talk to Howells about personal injury today

Personal injury solicitors at Howells specialise in all aspects of personal injury law. For more information about your rights and responsibilities, visit our personal injury page today.

by Tristan Lewis


(Image: Michael Coghlan under CC BY-SA 2.0)

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