As many parts of the UK experience further disruption and damaging winds, trees become a serious consideration for property owners. If you have mature trees on you land you should be aware that it is your responsibility to ensure that the trees are safe- the Occupiers Liability Act 1954/1980 states that the occupier of the land on which a tree stands is liable under UK law for any personal injury or other damage caused by the trees. This liability is particularly significant if there is public access or commercial activity on your land (Health and Safety at Work Act 1974) but also needs serious consideration if you have large trees close to your own home, outbuildings, a neighbouring boundary line, highway, footpath or bridleway.
In safe weather conditions property owners should carry out regular physical inspections of trees (particularly after high winds or heavy snow) -checking for cracked boughs, loose branches and any potential weakening of the tree’s structural stability including disease. We recommend that you use regular professional surveyors once every few years – this will provide you with expert guidance on keeping your trees healthy and safe and will mean that you will also hold a written report on your trees’ status and potentially mitigate your liability if you need to make a claim.
For further information about tree safety visit the RHS advice page (which also includes information on trees and subsidence).
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