The following information is offered without prejudice and it is advisable that you seek an independent legal opinion.
Q. “What can I do about my neighbour’s overhanging branches?”
A It is not a criminal offence to allow branches from a tree or shrub to overhang a neighbouring property. Your neighbour therefore does not have a legal duty to cut them back for you. However, in Common Law you have the right, should you choose to use it, to arrange for the removal of any overhanging branches as far as your legal boundary line and no further. You may do this without first seeking permission of the owner of the tree.
Q “Can I enter his land to do this?”
A No, you must first obtain the landowner’s permission to do so.
Q “What do I do with the branches I cut off?”
A Whatever is cut from the tree, including any fruit remains the property of the tree owner and should either be offered back or placed neatly back on the land upon which the tree is growing.
Q “My neighbours tree is too big and is blocking out light”
A There is no actual right to light in law and it is not a criminal offence to allow a tree to grow to any size in a domestic garden. Your neighbour therefore is not breaking the law. It is advisable that you approach your neighbour in friendly manner and explain the problems the tree is causing.
Q “My neighbour’s tree is interfering with my television reception.
A Again, there is no legal entitlement to television. Try approaching your neighbour as above or, if it is feasible, move your aerial or satellite dish to a better position away from the tree.
Q “But my neighbour is unapproachable or unfriendly towards me.”
A Please be aware that this is a private matter between you and your neighbour in which the Council has neither powers nor duty to act. We will not approach your neighbour on your behalf. It may be helpful to engage a third party such as Monmouthshire Mediation Service. Please see the following link email@example.com
Q “I am concerned that my neighbour’s tree is dangerous.”
A Your neighbour owes you what is known legally as the duty of care. This means that he must ensure, that as far as is reasonably practicable, his tree does not pose an unacceptable risk to you or your property. The owner of the tree is solely responsible and could be liable to a claim for negligence should any failure to have the tree inspected and maintained lead to injury or damage. You are advised to seek independent legal advice regarding this.
Q “I think my neighbour’s tree is causing damage to the foundations of my house. What can I do?”
A You need to establish the facts by employing a suitably qualified person such as a structural engineer to investigate the matter for you. Most mortgage companies can arrange a professional subsidence report.
Q “A tree outside my house is interfering with telephone cables.”
A Most of the time trees and phone cables coexist without a problem and it only becomes an issue if a tree or branch fails. If you suspect a tree is interfering with telephone cables please contact British Telecom on 01633 843131
Q “I’m worried that a tree is interfering with overhead power cables”.
A On no account should you attempt to rectify this yourself. Please contact Western Power Distribution on 0800 6783 105 to report the problem.
Q “I think my neighbour’s hedge is too high. What can I do?”
A It is not a criminal offence to allow a hedge to reach any height and it is not the Council’s responsibility to sort out your problem for you. However, some types of hedge such as evergreen or semi evergreen (i.e. those that retain some leaves in winter) are subject to the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. Further information can be found in the guidance note High hedges: Complaining to the Council details of which can be found on the following link here. It is suggested that you read this carefully before contacting the Council.