Reporting Dangerous Trees
If you see a dangerous tree you should in the first instance notify the owner of the tree, this is almost always the owner of the land where the tree is situated. Under the Occupiers Liability Act a landowner has a Duty of Care to make sure they have taken reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the trees on their land. Normally an inspection by a competent tree surgeon can ascertain if a tree is safe or not, however for insurance purposes the tree may need to be inspected by a person with Professional Indemnity Insurance such as an arboricultural consultant.
If you believe the tree is on local authority land please inform the relevant authority (this could be Parish, Town, District or County Council. If the tree is adjacent to or in danger of obstructing a road, please contact East Sussex County Council Highways Authority (external website).
Nuisance Trees and Hedges
If you experience a problem with a neighbour’s tree you should in the first instance, discuss this with your neighbour. Demonstrating the nature of the problem from your perspective will often solve the problem. You have certain rights under Common Law to cut back branches (only) to your joint boundary. This does not apply to trees with a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or those within a Conservation Area. If you have to take this step, the arisings and any removed fruit or wood remain the property of the tree owner and should be offered back to them but the owner does not have to accept them.
The issue of high hedges can often be a contentious one. If a neighbour’s hedge is affecting the way you live in your house, it is always best to contact them in the first instance to discuss your concerns. For more information on this please see the Hedges and Hedgerows page.