chester

Chester 01244 405 555

Grosvenor Court
Foregate Street Chester
Cheshire CH1 1HG
DX: 19990 Chester

shrewsbury

Shrewsbury 01743 443043

Lakeside House
Oxon Business Park
Shrewsbury SY3 5HJ
DX: 148563 Shrewsbury 14

Greater Manchester 0333 241 6886

Kennedy House,
31 Stamford St,
Altrincham WA14 1ES

17th July, 2014

Falling Branches: Who Is To Blame?


A recent High Court decision has looked at an ordinary landowner’s duty in relation to trees on their land.

Useful guidance on the management of trees is published by the Forestry Commission for the National Tree Safety Group:
Common Sense Risk Assessment of Trees
Common Sense Risk Management of Trees
Managing Trees for Safety

The Health and Safety Executive also gives guidance on the risk from falling trees or branches – see here Management of the risk from falling trees or branches.

In this recent case, a primary school head teacher had a 150 year old ash tree at the bottom of her back garden which overhung the railway line. One night a tree branch fell onto the railway line in high winds and caused a train crash. The train company wanted to recover the cost of damage to the train which amounted to £325,000.

The court said a householder had a duty to carry out informal observations of their trees from time to time. The owner of the house was capable of complying with that duty as she was an ordinary urban observer of trees and she did so. If she was not sufficiently knowledgeable about trees then an arboriculturalist should be hired – for example if the owner of a property is away for a long time, couldn’t physically inspect the property or couldn’t tell if a tree was not healthy.

If a tree is apparently healthy when such regular informal inspections are met, a landowner is expected to do no more.

For more information please contact Emma McGlinchey on 01244 405567 or email [email protected].



Contact Us

You might also be interested in...

A Sponsor Licence and Skilled Workers: Employing overseas nationals

22nd November, 2022

With a growing labour shortage in the UK, it is becoming more prevalent for UK businesses to begin... Read More »

Health and Care Worker

Routes to the UK: The Health and Care Worker Visa

22nd November, 2022

It is well reported that the UK has been experiencing labour shortages in the health sector for a... Read More »

The World Cup 2022: HR and employment law issues employers may face

18th November, 2022

With the 2022 FIFA World Cup just around the corner, and a month of football ahead, our employment... Read More »

Contact Us