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Problems with trees


The problem of overhanging branches is probably the most common one on which advice is sought. There is little you can do to restrict height or growth other than prune back overhanging branches to your boundary. By extension this may be applied to tree roots, but severing structural roots, especially on your side of the tree, is unwise because you may cause it to become unstable and fall towards your home.

This does not confer any right to enter the other person's property or to work on any part of the tree that does not overhang/encroach onto your property, and you are advised always to discuss such action with the tree owners before carrying out work and to offer to return any offcuts to the owner. You should not dispose of them by putting them over the fence.

Tree height

There is no legislation relating to the height of trees, and nothing the council can do to enforce a reduction in the height of a neighbour's tall tree.


In general there is no right to light therefore you cannot successfully argue against a tree owner on these grounds. If the shading has its origins in an evergreen hedge there may ultimately be a case for high hedges enforcement but this route should always be your last resort.

Television reception

You cannot insist on a tree being pruned or removed to facilitate television reception.

Trees on boundaries

Unless a tree damages your property in a direct way, there is nothing you can do to prevent someone planting a tree close to the boundary other than manage the overgrowth.

When a tree causes actionable nuisance - nuisance that could give rise to a claim for damages - you should seek independent legal advice. This is a matter the council cannot become involved in.

Pruning and felling

As well as the above problems, we will not carry out tree pruning that either damages a tree or offers no solution to what is often a perceived or temporary problem including:

  • leaf litter/ seeds/blossom/pollen/needles/bird droppings
  • insect/aphid secretions/bees/ wasps
  • overhead lines (contact the service provider, who have an obligation to prune for line clearance)
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