Community Information Tall Trees The problem in a nutshell “My neighbour’s trees are so tall, apart from being unable to grow anything light-loving in my garden I have to keep the light on in my sitting room all the year round. I have been trying to talk nicely with my neighbour and he has said that he will cut overhanging branches. He will not, however, reduce their height. I feel so frustrated that he can get away with this. And I, as a pensioner, have to accept it although it is costing me a small fortune in utility bills. It seems so unfair andt I am not sure what options I have.” The legal position Where the encroachment of tree roots (or branches) onto the property of neighbour causes damage, this constitutes a nuisance which entitles the injured party in an appropriate case to seek damages or an injunction or to reduce or remove the nuisance himself or herself. This also applies to tall hedges, particularly Leylandii, but not to tall trees (see SMBC website). Suggestion 1 Cutting back high trees can be expensive, and your neighbour might not see the need to spend money on it. You can offer to get them cut back (at your expense) to a mutually agreed level. It might work and is cheaper than taking legal action. Suggestion 2 Talk to a solicitor (or get advice from the CAB). The chances are that the solicitor will need to get a written opinion from a barrister as to whether or not you have a winnable case. It will cost at least £3000 to bring your case to court. Even if you win, the costs awarded may not cover your full legal bill. If you lose, it could end up costing you in excess of £5000. Any good solicitor will urge you to try to resolve this without litigation Suggestion 3 This involves the advice of a tree surgeon, if a tree relies on roots in your ground. If removal of these roots would destabilise a tree AND if it would fall safely, i.e. not onto a house or person, then you might consider taking appropriate action (under the supervision of a tree surgeon). Suggestion 4 Write to your MP to lobby for laws that recognise the problem is not limited to species, number or arrangement of trees. The stress it causes neighbours compares with the problems of loud music, verbal abuse, unruly animals, revved motorbike engines or any of the other things for which the law currently offers a remedy Further information & useful weblinks Solutions SK Ltd. http://www.stockport.gov.uk Enterprise House, Oakhurst Drive, http://www.clsdirect.org.uk (Community Legal Helpline) Cheadle Heath, Stockport, SK3 0XS http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk (CAB) Tel. 0161 474 5710 http://www.trees.org.uk (to find a tree surgeon) Email. firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.theyworkforyou.com (contact your MP) This leaflet is brought to you by Brigitte Lechner, the Manor Ward Labour Party Community Link, and printed at Stockport Labour Club, 2 Lloyd Street, Stockport SK4 1QP. T: 0161 285 0558, E: Brigitte.email@example.com.