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Nikki1975

Advice re removal of silver birch trees

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Hi

I hope that someone can help me as I seem to be getting nowhere. I have 2 huge silver birch trees (one is 15m in height and the other is 12m in height after both of them being reduced in 2017) which are situated 5m from my house on my property boundary and owned by the council.  I have been in a constant battle with the council about the damage the trees are causing to my garden as the roots are on the surface barely covered by shingle which is the only thing I can have in my garden currently, I cannot add more shingle as this will then cover my damp course.  The roots have made my path uneven and and they are pushing a drain out of the ground. There are also random (sometimes quite large) branches falling into my garden and so feel my front garden is unuseable. The council have refused so far to remove the trees and say that they will contribute towards costs for me to have my garden reinstated including removing tree roots (despite telling me before not to touch them as this could make the trees unstable) and put right. Due to the conflicting information the council were giving me and the refusal of their own arborist to come out and check the trees  I paid to have a private arborist report done to try and get some clarity. The private arborist report I had done said the trees are showing signs of decay, are damaging my garden and are too close to the house and any repairs to the garden whilst the trees were still in situ would not be satisfactory as the problems would likely reoccur and so the recommendation was that the trees should be removed. I have yet to send this report to the council and their liability insurer but still think they may ignore it even though I will be pushing for the trees to be removed. However now I am concerned about what the consequences if they are removed will this affect the soil/ground and ultimately my property months or years down the line? And if so who will be liable for the costs/Repairs? Do the council have a duty to monitor the ground movement or anything after removing the trees? Of note I have had the soil type checked and I have a medium shrinkable clay with flint deposits. I am so worried and stressed by the whole situation and worry for the future of my house and investment.  I would be so grateful for any advice if anyone has been through or has knowledge of a similar scenario. Many thanks

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11 hours ago, 5 shires said:

If they are making an offer that’s fine but it won’t solve the ongoing issues that you will have over the coming years so you are right not to accept there offer.

 

You need to push for the removal of the trees as they are already admitteing the trees are causing damage to your garden by offering you a payment.

 

just stick to your guns and insist on removal as once the trees have been removed you can deal with the root problems.

Thank you for your reply. I did have an initial consultation with a solicitor and she advised the same. They were quick to say in their offer that just because they were making an offer did not mean they were accepting liability so basically covering themselves. This has all been and still is such a headache . The solicitor is happy to write to them for me and claim back most of what I am paying out but she wanted me to find out what is likely to happen to the ground when the trees are removed so she can factor that cost in but no one seems to know what will happen that’s also why I was trying to find out how silver birch react when removed if that makes sense. You’ve been very helpful thank you. I feel like I am going to be a tree expert myself after all this is done! ?

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2 minutes ago, Nikki1975 said:

Thank you for your reply. I did have an initial consultation with a solicitor and she advised the same. They were quick to say in their offer that just because they were making an offer did not mean they were accepting liability so basically covering themselves. This has all been and still is such a headache . The solicitor is happy to write to them for me and claim back most of what I am paying out but she wanted me to find out what is likely to happen to the ground when the trees are removed so she can factor that cost in but no one seems to know what will happen that’s also why I was trying to find out how silver birch react when removed if that makes sense. You’ve been very helpful thank you. I feel like I am going to be a tree expert myself after all this is done! ?

It’s fine advice costs nothing unless your a solicitor or a shrink,as far as damage being caused to the ground once the trees have been removed this will be minimal as large % of the root system will remain in the ground and retain soil movement for many years with the possibility of the ground just settling over time.

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11 hours ago, Rich Rule said:

I would contact your own Home Insurance, see if they have legal advice.  If there was a problem with your property due to this issue at a later date, you would contact them anyway.

 

You have an independent Arborists report, speak to your insurer and let them know the situation and all the correspondence so far.  
 

See where you go, I would push for the removal by the council and liability for any further issues relating to this matter.

Thank you for your reply. I am so wary of going through my insurance regarding this as that’s what the council advised me to do when I first found some cracks in my wall outside (which I wasn’t sure if was down to the trees) and the council told me to go through my insurance to investigate which I naively did at the time and they had to put it through as a potential subsidence claim which basically put my insurance premium up from about £25 a month to well over £80 a month until after a year or so it was said it wasn’t subsidence but then that particular insurance company (which after reading reviews with hindsight was a shocking company anyway)  wouldn’t insure me as my garden path was uneven due to the roots and asked me to fix it which I said I couldn’t afford to and didn’t see how it was my responsibility as it was local authority trees causing the damage. It’s all been a complete nightmare if I am honest. Just a question but would it be for me to claim against my insurance if there were problems in the future if the trees were removed and caused problems or would it be the council’s responsibility? Surely I shouldn’t be again expected to pay high premiums again for an issue which isn’t actually mine? Sorry for all the questions ?

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I’d snap their hand off for the £5k, grind the roots flat and be done with it. 
 

Btw, a property isn’t an ‘investment’ unless you have more than one. 

Edited by doobin

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4 hours ago, 5 shires said:

It’s fine advice costs nothing unless your a solicitor or a shrink,as far as damage being caused to the ground once the trees have been removed this will be minimal as large % of the root system will remain in the ground and retain soil movement for many years with the possibility of the ground just settling over time.

Thank you so much you have been really helpful.

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32 minutes ago, doobin said:

I’d snap their hand off for the £5k, grind the roots flat and be done with it. 
 

Btw, a property isn’t an ‘investment’ unless you have more than one. 

Thanks for your advice. Apologies for the wrong context of the word ‘investment’ I’m sorry it offended you! It was meant in a way that I work hard to pay for my home on my own as an ‘investment’ for my kids future and don’t want local authority trees to cause damage to it. It might not be much but it’s mine. However I didn’t actually mention whether I have any other properties. 

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29 minutes ago, Scottish Cleaning Service said:

I would take the £5k and cut the trees down myself and hire a stump grinder to finish it off. As for heave you would need to know what soil you have but I wouldn't worry about it, getting rid of trees is the answer. fwiw

Thank you for your advice. I did mention in an earlier post that I have a medium shrinkable clay soil with flint deposits (although this could have easily been missed in my post and replies)  so I don’t know if that helps with my question about heave? Thanks again.

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6 hours ago, Scottish Cleaning Service said:

I would take the £5k and cut the trees down myself

She can't . They belong to the council . 

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6 hours ago, Scottish Cleaning Service said:

You can remove anything if its a danger to life or property all you do is send a lawyer's letter asking them to remove them. If they refuse then after a time period you can do it yourself as long as the judge agrees with you. All the council are bothered about is the cost and who will pay for it.

Ok , If you say so .  Everyday is a school day . 😊

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7 hours ago, Scottish Cleaning Service said:

You can remove anything if its a danger to life or property all you do is send a lawyer's letter asking them to remove them. If they refuse then after a time period you can do it yourself as long as the judge agrees with you. All the council are bothered about is the cost and who will pay for it.

Does this hypothetical judge come into the equation before or after you illegally fell somebody elses tree?

 

Assuming after, what do you suppose the chances of him agreeing with you are?

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