Home Coronavirus: News and Advice Tackling tree issues

Tackling tree issues

by Cathy Sheel

If, like many of us, you’re spending much more time in your garden making it look its best this summer, you may be unsure about what to do when confronted with overhanging trees or overgrown hedges from neighbouring properties.

So the council’s Arboricultural team has come up with some useful advice to answer your most common questions.

My neighbour’s trees encroach over my boundary, can I cut them back?
Your Common Law rights allow you to remove branches that cross over your boundary without the need to seek your neighbour’s permission. Notifying your neighbour of your intentions is always advisable.

My neighbour’s trees are blocking my light, what can I do?
Technically your neighbour only has a duty to ensure their trees are safe. There is currently no height restriction on individual trees. If you have concerns regarding a tree ask your neighbour how they intend to maintain it.
Please note before either you or your neighbour undertakes works to any trees it is important to check the trees are not covered by a Tree Preservation Order, or located within a Conservation Area. For further information you can contact the Council’s Planning Department on (0151) 443 2281 or email planning@knowsley.gov.uk

My neighbour has allowed their hedge next to my garden to grow too high. What should I do?
If you are experiencing problems with a neighbour’s high hedge, here’s some advice around trying to solve disputes surrounding problem hedges ‘Over the garden hedge’ If all attempts listed in the ‘Over the garden hedge’ leaflet fail to resolve the problem there is guidance on what will happen if the Council get involved High Hedges: complaining to the Council.

I have a big tree near my property, I am worried about the damage the roots may be doing to my house, what should I do?
Tree-related subsidence is usually seasonal, with cracks appearing in the summer months as the tree uses the water, and then closing in the winter months as rain wets the soil. Knowsley has a low incidence of clay soil and the risk of tree related subsidence/heave is low. If you still have concerns you can visit the Arboricultural Association website www.trees.org.uk/ for further professional advice regarding the tree.

The tree roots are blocking my drains, what can I do?
It is very unusual for roots to physically break drains and associated pipe work. However, tree roots are opportunistic and if an old pipe with poor joints is leaking into the surrounding soil this will attract the roots that may then exploit the existing weakness. However replacement of faulty drains/pipes with modern materials will usually eliminate the leak and stop problems from reoccurring. If you have concerns regarding pipes and drains please contact your utilities provider in the first instance.

A tree is lifting paving slabs/ affecting my drive – can I cut the roots off a protected tree?
Cutting the roots off any tree is generally ill-advised as it may affect the tree’s health and stability. If a tree is covered by a Tree Preservation Order, or if it stands in a Conservation Area an application will be required before root pruning can take place. The application form is available here

There is more information on the council’s website about specific tree issues and further FAQ’s

For more information about overgrown trees and hedges visit: https://www.knowsley.gov.uk/residents/building-and-planning/work-on-protected-tree