UKTC Archive

RE: damage liability

Subject: RE: damage liability
From: Wright, Matthew
Date: Oct 31 2001 17:17:38

The "nuisance" in the Delaware Mansions v Westminster case was a legal
nuisance in that it involved significant subsidence (i.e. actual damage) to
a block of flats which was deemed to have been caused by an adjoining
council-owned tree. Section 6.9 of the Blue Book advises that the term
"nuisance" is used in a legal sense rather than its everyday sense for the
purposes of section 198.6.b of the Town & Country Planning Act (further
clarification is given in section 198.15). As far as I am aware, leaves,
mossy lawns etc. are not deemed to be legal nuisances and could not be used
as a reason to fell the tree under the "nuisance" exemption but it would
probably be worthwhile getting a definition on legal nuisance from your
legal section rather than relying on the opinion of a red-necked arborist. 


Matthew Wright
Landscape & Tree Officer
Planning Services, Exeter City Council, Civic Centre, Paris Street,  
Exeter  EX1 1NN

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From:         Vowell Anthony R
Reply To:     UK Tree Care
Sent:         31 October 2001 16:20
To:   UK Tree Care
Subject:      damage liability

<<File: InterScan_Disclaimer.txt>><<File: ATT06434.txt>>
Has anyone seen the law report in last Friday's Times [October26th]
regarding tree root damage to property and recovery of expenditure and
the abatement of a continuing nuisance.

The actual case seems very complicated, but hinges on the fact that
present owners can sue for damage that might have took place many years
prior [if I've read it properly]

The appeal before the House of Lords was in short:

" in the proposition that where there is a continuing nuisance of which
the defendant knew or should have known, reasonable remedial expenditure
could be recoverd by the owner who had to incur it [to abate the
nuisance ]."

 Does this open up a whole can of worms along the lines of " I've had to
clean my gutters/paint the house/de-moss the lawn" etc etc ad-nauseum
" because of the TPO tree over there on his/her/etc land, and therefore
I'm suing the owner for the costs incurred"

The owner can then fell said TPO tree with impunity because it is seen
as an abatement of a nuisance, as aided and abetted by the Court.

I'd be interested in any views on this, as I have an owner who is
itching to use it as an excuse to felling a 200 year old Oak covered by
a TPO.

Tony Vowell

Trees Officer Gwynedd Council

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