A new survey involving 2,000 homeowners and tenants in the UK, has found that over half of residents could be accidentally breaking the law by trimming their neighbours garden bush without permission.
The research was conducted by shed and log cabin retailer Tiger Sheds. They found that over half (52 per cent) admitted they would chop down a neighbour’s tree or bush without permission if it was growing into their garden or without knowing the property boundaries.
According to UK law, you can trim branches or roots but only up to the property boundary. If residents do more than this, then they could be at risk of being charged with criminal damage should their neighbour choose to make a complaint against them.
Homeowners and tenants could also be breaking the law when it comes to managing birds and nests, 17 per cent of respondents to the survey said they would just move a bird’s nest from their garden and 16 per cent would trim around the nest.
Under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to intentionally move, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird whilst in use. Offenders can even be sentenced to six months in prison if found guilty.
The survey also looked at the respondent’s knowledge of laws regarding building a garden shed and whether they needed planning permission. A quarter (25 per cent) said they wouldn’t ask for permission to construct a shed in their garden regardless of the size, whilst 12 per cent didn’t believe planning permission was needed unless it was living accommodation.
Fortunately, it is very rare to require planning permission for a shed. However, the council could make you retrospectively apply for planning or you can face an enforcement notice to take the shed down should you discover later that it needs planning permission.
Sam Jenkinson, Head of Marketing at Tiger Sheds, had this to say: “It’s interesting to find out some of the things Brits are doing in their garden that could land them in trouble. Just by cutting your neighbour’s branches you could be facing criminal damage charges.
Brits must be aware of these garden laws as simply carrying out some small work in your garden or moving a nest could lead to issues if people aren’t careful.