Residents

Can my neighbour get a court order to force me to cut down a tree in my garden?

They can try but will probably be unsuccessful. In this country nothing is prohibited unless expressly prohibited by law. To own a piece of land is to own the airspace above it and the ground underneath to the centre of the Earth. You may utilise the freedom of this ownership to do whatever you wish unless, as mentioned above, it is forbidden by law. It is not forbidden to grow a large tree on your property. As long as it remains within the confines of your property, is safe and is not causing damage, injury or a other legal nuisance there is no reason why you cannot have the tree.

The point must be made that with ownership comes responsibility. Should any damage or injury be caused arise out by the tree then the tree owner will be fully liable for any reparations or compensation. Although a person may have the freedom to own a large tree, because of the greater implications of the failure of a part or all of the tree, it must be checked for health and safety by an arboricultural consultant at least once every 5 years, if every year is prohibitive (but advisable) and after severe weather; and suitably certificated to indemnify the tree owner.

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