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The British law on someone cutting down a piece of your garden


WielkiPolak 58 | 1,034
15 Sep 2011  #1
This might seem like a very weird question, I would like people to take it seriously though. If someone cuts down a part of a tree from our garden, what can we do about it [legally]? I live in London so if someone that lives here knows the law about it, could they tell me. In fact even if you live somewhere else, can you tell me how it would work there, in Poland or the USA. I want to take some action as it has really seriously angered me that someone had the nerve to do that. I'll explain the situation with me just so you can understand it properly.

We have a garden and at the back of it, by the fence, some trees. One of them is quite high up [but not that high up, enough to cover our land] and someone took it upon themselves today to cut it down from the other side and leave the cut part lying in our garden. They did not ask us or write to us if they could? The hedge was not going in to their part of land, it was just high, but we like it like that as we like to have our land covered and I am assuming that we he a right to have it high if we want. So like I said could you tell me what I can do [other than go and punch them in the face.] It is really bothering me.
LwowskaKrakow 28 | 431
15 Sep 2011  #2
First you need to identify who( a neighbourg ?) did this to your property because even if it is a tree ( some of them cost a fortune) since it was not going to another part of land but only in your garden it really was a destruction of your property and you can file a complaint (criminal for the offense and civil for the damages and costs).

The problem and the hardest part will be to prove who did it . Some people are really nasty ,leaving the cut part into your garden is really disgusting.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
15 Sep 2011  #3
I live in London so if someone that lives here knows the law about it, could they tell me.

your neighbour broke the law, but u are not likely to get back much in compensation and the other person will only get a fine, at most.

contact the local authorities, not the police.

photo evidence might help too.

i'd just run a key along the length of his car.
Barney 14 | 1,469
15 Sep 2011  #4
They did nothing wrong. If the branches were hanging over their land they can cut them but must give you the cuttings. If fruit drops onto their land they can keep it but cannot pick it even if it overhangs.

If the trees/hedge blocks out their light there is a thing called "ancient light" where they have the right to protect their light ie cut down the obstruction.

You like privacy they like light
Perhaps they should have talked to you like good neighbours.

Edit

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_light / Ancient Light
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
15 Sep 2011  #5
If fruit drops onto their land they can keep it but cannot pick it even if it overhangs.

i agree with this

If the trees/hedge blocks out their light there is a thing called "ancient light" where they have the right to protect their light ie cut down the obstruction.

didn't know that. thanks

If the branches were hanging over their land they can cut them but must give you the cuttings.

i don't agree with this. but, if they use the 'ancient light' rule... i suppose that's the end of the matter.
Barney 14 | 1,469
15 Sep 2011  #6
didn't know that. thanks

The things you learn from radio 4:)
isthatu2 4 | 2,708
16 Sep 2011  #7
Lols, Barney has it spot on.....the same happened to my mum,she came back from a weekend away to find half a tree lying in her backgarden. I heard about it,went apesh!t,then asked a copper mate......" He'd have only been in the wrong if he had kept the branches..."

Also, Ancient light laws can,if you are lucky,prevent building work if it in anyway blocks out natural light into your house or garden.
OWELL
16 Sep 2011  #8
what can we do about it [legally]?

Depends what country you are in.....
In America: you call the cops document it and file a civil or criminal suit depending on the access of the property.
In Russia:you get your pals to shoot them:)
In China:you ask for money from the proceed.
In India: you get a priest and pray together and ask for money.
In POLAND:mixuture of all the above.
f stop 25 | 2,513
16 Sep 2011  #9
thing called "ancient light" where they have the right to protect their light ie cut down the obstruction.

I don't see anything about trees there, just building and fences blocking somebody's window. As far as I know, the only branches you can cut are the ones extending over your property line.
beckski 12 | 1,617
16 Sep 2011  #10
As far as I know, the only branches you can cut are the ones extending over your property line.

That's my understanding too. They most likely cut a portion of the tree, because some of the leaves had been falling onto their property. For revenge... you can spray their garden with Roundup weed killer!
OP WielkiPolak 58 | 1,034
16 Sep 2011  #11
They did nothing wrong

Actually I think they did. I also did some research in to this.

1/ It was not on his land, it was over the fence on to an alley way between their property and our garden. The alley is public for people that have gardens there, not part of his land.

2/ Some branches were over it but he cut the top of the whole tree [as beckski said]. He went and cut it at the trunk, that is inside our property [I know it is him as I know who did it now].
PlasticPole 7 | 2,649
16 Sep 2011  #12
Unfortunately, if the tree branches are on their property, they might be allowed to prune the branches so they are no longer hanging over onto their land. At least that's the way it works here. They cannot touch what is on your property, but can trim the tree so it no longer interferes with theirs.
Vincent 9 | 809 Moderator
16 Sep 2011  #13
1/ It was not on his land, it was over the fence on to an alley way between their property and our garden. The alley is public for people that have gardens there, not part of his land.

Sometimes if the local council receive enough complaints about trees being a nuisance and danger to the public, they will trim any overhanging branches themselves. I don't think they can go onto your property though without permission, unless of course they own the property.


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