Advice: Contact your local authority or the ESB to deal with dangerous trees
Q Last week's storm uprooted some trees on the border between my land and my neighbour. Although still standing I am concerned that it will fall and bring down the power lines along side and if that happened I would likely lose power to the milking parlour and other facilities. I have told my neighbour that he needs to have the tree removed and made safe, but I don't think he has done anything about this. Where do I stand if the tree causes damage to my property?
A. As Storm Ophelia has highlighted the issue of liability for trees both fallen and overhanging.
Although it can be a sensitive issue between neighbours, the law is quite clear on this subject, in that the land owner or occupier (that includes farmers renting land) are responsible for ensuring that hedges/trees do not encroach and affect their neighbours' use of their land. They must also ensure that trees are safe from falling branches.
In relation to trees which may overhang onto the roadway or near power lines, local authorities and the ESB have powers to deal with this type of dangerous tree.
They can give notice to the owner requiring them to cut or prune the tree.
The best solution may be to contact the ESB if you are concerned that a tree poses a potential risk to the power line near your home. These reports will be taken very seriously and the ESB can choose to remove it themselves or compel your neighbour to do so.
If the ESB/local authority decide to direct the owner to remove the tree and the owner fails to comply, they have authority to carry out the work and charge the owner.
As the tree seems to be on your neighbours land and not your own you should not cut the tree yourself as this could raise liability issues for you.