Information on trees and preservation

Tree disputes with neighbours 

The Council does not usually get involved with tree disputes between neighbours of privately owned properties. 

It will only intervene if a tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or if it sits within a conservation area. You can use this interactive map to check if either of these apply.  

If the tree has a TPO or is within a conservation area, you will need to apply to carry out works on a protected tree. Carrying out work to these trees without the Council’s permission is an offence which can result in a fine

Tree ownership 

Trees are the property of the landowner on which they grow. If the base of the tree sits on a boundary line, it is jointly owned by both neighbours. You may need to check your property deeds to confirm this. 

Trimming hedges or trees 

If your neighbour’s tree branches or hedge grow into your garden, they can be cut back to the boundary fence without obtaining permission (unless the tree has a TPO or sits within a conservation area).  

But whatever you plan to do, it is advisable to let your neighbour know first. 

When pruning, be careful not to remove branches from the neighbouring side of the boundary. Doing so is damaging your neighbour’s property. Also, if you have to cross the boundary line to remove an overhanging branch you will need permission to gain access to their property. 

You also do not own the trimmings. You should offer them to your neighbour. But do not throw them over the boundary as this could be viewed as ‘fly tipping’. It is likely you will have to dispose of the cuttings yourself. 

Any falling leaves, twigs, blossom, sap, fruit or bird droppings are natural occurrences. There is no responsibility for the tree owner to prevent this from happening or to clean it up. Any fruit on a neighbour’s tree remains their property – even if it grows on branches overhanging your side of the boundary. 

Problems with a neighbour’s trees 

You cannot make a neighbour carry out work to a healthy tree. But before you get others involved, you should discuss the problem with your neighbour and try to come to some sort of agreement

However, there are ways to make a complaint: 

A tree falling on your property 

Your buildings insurance should cover you if a tree falls and damages your property. If the owner had not taken steps to keep the tree in a safe condition, they may be responsible for any damage caused.  

Suspected issues 

  • Subsidence – if you think a neighbour’s tree is causing subsidence to your property, you should contact your insurance company. They will look into your concerns and contact the neighbour or Broxbourne Council on your behalf 

  • TV/satellite signal and solar panels – you have no legal right to prune or remove trees blocking your signal or those that get in the way of solar panels. Pruning trees is also unlikely to provide an adequate solution. However, if you believe a neighbour’s hedge is blocking solar panels, you can take action under the high hedges legislation 

  • Tree roots growing through the pavement – all footpath repairs are the responsibility of Hertfordshire County Council. Report it at 

Getting a neighbour to pay for your tree cutting 

If you choose to cut down overhanging branches or trim trees, you will have to pay for the cost yourself. Your neighbour is not expected to contribute.