UKTC Archive

RE: British Telecom Wires

Subject: RE: British Telecom Wires
From: WILLIAMS, Tim
Date: Dec 23 2009 15:46:36
There is no statutory requirement for BT or adjacent landowners to Clear 
their phone lines as there is with Electricity lines,this is due to the 
negligible voltage carried by the phoneline ie it is not a safety issue 
should the insulating material be rubbed away. BT do occasionally clear phone 
lines but on a very limited adhoc basis. Most of the time they just repair 
the line and leave without doing any remedial treework. A wayleave just gives 
a right of access to maintain a line but doesn't mean you have too. BT are 
responsible for repair costs unless you cause the damage e.g a tree surgeon 
that cuts a BT line accidently will have to pay for the repair. 

Tim Williams
Highways Tree Inspector
Fountains Support Services Ltd
on behalf  of Cheshire West and Chester
Chester office (Backford) 01244 XXXXXX
Fountains office (Blackburn) 01254 XXXXXX
Mobile 07831XXXXXX
Tim.Williams@xxxxxxxxx.gov.uk



-----Original Message-----
From: Colin Chambers [mailto:Colin.Chambers@xxxxxxxx.gov.uk] 
Sent: 23 December 2009 15:11
To: UK Tree Care
Subject: British Telecom Wires

On the face of it, this is a very common issue and I can't believe I don't 
know the answer. There can be few members who have not experienced the 
question of trees and telephone wires so hopefully someone can help me here.

This situation is one whereby some years ago BT ran wires for 350 metres 
along a bridleway / right of way that runs along the side but within an 
established woodland. I understand there is no way leave in place but don't 
know whether this is strictly relevant.

The line goes along then exits the wood to serve a large property for their 
security, broadband and telephone. Ownership of the house has just changed 
and the new owners have asked BT to ensure that the line is not at risk of 
failure. The new owners have also contacted us (the Local Authority) as 
owners of the wood and requested that we prune the trees so they do not touch 
or put the wire at risk.

There is no doubt that tree branches touch the wires in many places and 
rubbing may well have taken place. I have obtained an estimate to undertake 
pruning but told Open Reach (part of BT ?) that when the wires were put in 
position, tree growth was entirely foreseeable and that the tree owners are 
not responsible for ensuring that tree growth is kept away from the wire run. 
I have offered to get the work done but only on the basis that they pay.

Open Reach / BT have not properly answered me but the weight of snow has now 
added to the concerns of the householder.

Q1 - is an adjacent land owner responsible for pruning their trees away from 
BT wires ?

Q2 - if persistent rubbing by a tree branch causes damage whereby the line 
has to be renewed, is the tree owner responsible for paying to replace the 
line ?

Q3 - does having or not having a 'Wayleave' in place make any difference to 
the answers at 1 & 2

Q4 - is any of this embodied in the Telecommunications Act ?

Many thanks,

Colin Chambers
Trees & Woodlands Officer
Dacorum Borough Council

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