Q. I have a 200 year old beech tree in my garden which overhangs a public footpath and road. I am not an expert but it looks as though it may have some signs of rot. Am I responsible to other members of the public if part or all of the tree falls down?
A. A landowner must take reasonable precautions to ensure the tree is safe. Landowners have been sued when trees or branches of trees from their property have fallen causing serious injury or even fatalities. The courts can find against the landowner who may be left with a sizable judgement against them. If insured this may be something their insurer would deal with but your insurer will expect you to take all reasonable precautions failing which they may refuse to indemnify you if an incident occurs.
If you have reason to believe there is rot on the tree you should obtain expert advice from a tree specialist. For further advice regarding the liability of a landowner do not hesitate to contact me at either our Stamford or Peterborough office.
Sean Rowcliffe, Partner
*This article was previously printed in The Peterborough Telegraph