Trees encroaching onto a property
There is no requirement in law to prevent trees spreading over a boundary, and there is no obligation for landowners to prune trees that grow on their property.
However, if branches encroach on to neighbouring land or property they are legally regarded as a nuisance. The owner of the neighbouring land has the legal right to 'abate the nuisance' by cutting the branches encroaching onto their property.
You have common law legal right to remove branches that cross into your property from a neighbour's property or a public road. However:
- you may only do this from your own property
- you can only trim up to your property boundary - if you do more than this, your neighbour could take you to court for damaging their property
- if you do need to cross the boundary, you must get your neighbour's permission
- the work you carry out must not make the tree unsafe
- if you lean a ladder against the tree trunk, you must get your neighbour's permission if the tree is on a privately owned property
- if the tree is on a privately owned property, you must ask the tree's owner if they want the branches you've removed back as they are technically their property
- if they do not want them back, it's your responsibility to get rid of them - do not place them on your neighbour's land
- you must check the tree is not protected before any work is started - if the tree is in a conservation area or has a protection order, you will need permission before you carry out any work
You have no legal right to access, cut, or remove any part of a tree that does not overhang your property.
We do not prune trees simply because they are encroaching over a boundary onto a neighbouring property. Please see the section above on your rights to lessen encroachment.
If a council-owned tree's branches are encroaching over a boundary and touching a property, we will assess the encroachment and may carry out work to prevent damage from occurring. Generally, we will only carry out work where we consider the trees in question are causing damage to a property.
We may not take any action where overhang of a boundary is relatively minor, or at considerable height.
Please use our tree causing damage to a building or structure form to report a tree touching a property.
We do not deal with tree encroachment on private property unless the tree causing the problem is on council land.
If the tree has caused any damage to your property, please use our tree causing damage to a building or structure form.
If a tree or hedge is affecting road or public footpath safety, please use our overhanging trees on a road or footpath form.
If you believe a tree is dangerous due to damage or disease, please use our potentially hazardous trees form.