Result: Tree Root Damage From Council Trees Can Be Recoverable….

Hafezis Comments: It has been confirmed in the case of Josephine Robbins v Bexley London Borough Council (2012) that tree root damage caused by the roots of trees grown by the local authority close to your property can be recoverable if the damage would not have occured in any event, as in this case. However the Council is only liable if they were directly responsible by failing to implement a policy of cyclical pruning and thereafter crown reduction if required, which is likely to prevent such damage. Such evidence would of course have to be obtained from engineering and arboricultural experts to the above effect.

In this particular case the Council had been in fact put on notice some 5- years before the damage actually occurred but failed to act on such complaints and therefore were found negligent as following the complaints it was then reasonably foreseeable that the roots could extend up to 35 metres causing the resulting damage. Hence as they were made aware that such damage could occur, i.e. it was reasonably foreseeable and they failed to prevent any such damage, the Council were found liable for the damage caused by the subsidence.

If there any lessons to be learned by those who own properties close to Trees planted by a local authority, it is that if any cracks being to appear put the Council on notice immediately so as to combat any defence the Council make in the future that they were unaware and such was not reasonably foreseeable for them to act upon to prevent such damage.

JOSEPHINE ROBBINS v BEXLEY LONDON BOROUGH COUNCIL (2012)

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I own this website but now practice law as a consultant under an umbrella of Freeman Harris. I continue to practice in the same area of law as I did in my own form of Hafezis.

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