Tree Protection Order/liabity – square this circle please

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  • Tree Protection Order/liabity – square this circle please
  • Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash

    So, parents neighbours have a big old oak tree in the garden of their little bungalow, located against the boundary fence so a lot of it overhangs the pavement and road alongside. The tree has TPO order on it.

    They have applied to have it reduced in size, as quite big bits have blown off over the winter, into their garden and onto the pavement.

    Council have turned down the application due to the TPO, but stressed that as the tree is on their land they may liable if anyone is injured if anything blows down. Neighbours (elderly) rather concerned by this.

    By applying to the council and being refused permission to try and reduce the risk, have they done enough to argue that they have acted reasonably and therefore not been negligent in the event of an accident?


    Speak to a tree surgeon.

    Did they get an arborist to do the application? You need quite specific detial of the works before they’ll issue a consent.

    Premier Icon JustAnotherLogin

    I think if a tree surgeon says it needs to be reduced it will hard for them to refuse and would definitely put the neighbour in a very defensible position – after all what else could they do. Just them saying to the council is likely to get ignored.

    We have a blanket order on the whole neighbourhood so need to ask to do anything. A tree surgeon did the application on our behalf and we didn’t have a problem getting permission. It seemed quite normal for him to do the application.


    As above, you need a specialist arboriculturalist report which has been commissioned by your parents, which will make the necessary recommendations. If the council still disagree request a meeting on site between thier tree officer and your specialist.

    Premier Icon sandwicheater

    not been negligent in the event of an accident

    I can’t see they would be deemed negligent but liability should the tree damage property or person will still likely rest with them.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash

    Tree surgeon did the application.

    Strict liability on falling tree damage? I presumed there would be some “reasonable” test involved, sure there have been threads on here where councils have not been liable for their trees having done some sort of check.

    Premier Icon bigjim

    it’s not going to land on anyone. big old oaks are rarer than humans anyway.


    Many factors here. It could be based on the reputation that the tree surgeon has with the council. Not everyone’s idea of a 20% reduction is the same.

    I would also question a reduction on a mature oak, the gains would be marginal and detrimental to the tree.

    If a request to make safe and deadwood had been refused, which IIRC are not actually prohibited under a TPO, then I’d be asking questions of the council.

    Either way, a paper trail with the council showing that an effort has been made to secure the safety of the tree *should* be enough to mitigate liability (IANAL etc, but a tree surgeon for too many years)

    Premier Icon thepurist

    How about just meeting with the tree officer to discuss the situation?


    There are exceptions to planning permission

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