Gaina Kapoor considers Leylandii Trees and Neighbour Disputes

The Leyland cypress is a fast-growing coniferous evergreen tree. It is used for hedges and screens. Many grow trees for privacy purposes. In recent years the number of disputes has risen due to the nuisance caused by Leylandii trees. Leylandii trees often affect neighbours and locals in the area.

A recent case involved pensioner Val Horton who was in a dispute with neighbour Valerie Vivian for 20 years over a 50ft leylandii hedge. Ms Horton argued the tree blocked her beautiful views from her property.  However, Ms Horton accepted defeat as the council ruled that the 50ft hedge did not breach any laws as it did not block out enough sunlight to be considered a nuisance.

Part 8 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 enables local councils to take action against complaints about leylandii trees and hedges if the tree is affecting the neighbour’s enjoyment of their home or garden. Additionally, if the tree is becoming a concern the council can order the owner to take action and rectify the problem. Section 66 states, that the Leylandii tree must not be more than 2m tall and it must not be a barrier to light or access for another neighbour (the council will assess this on a case-case basis). In addition, it must affect a part of the building occupied or intended to be occupied. Most complaints are concerning the deprivation of sunlight, affecting the growth of plants and the roots of the hedge damaging an individual’s drive or home.

Initially, the council will advise both parties to settle disputes in-house. The sanction for failing to follow council instructions can result in a fine of up to £1,000. In addition, the order may be to cut the tree to the legal requirements.

For further information on this topic or any other legal area, please contact John Szepietowski or Kay Stewart at Audley Chaucer Solicitors on 01372303444 or email or visit our Linkedin page.

Gaina Kapoor

September 2022

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