Legal obligations in relation to trees
There is a legal requirement vested in tree owners, landlords and owners of facilities to ensure that their premises are ‘fit for purpose’ and safe to use by others. This responsibility and ‘Duty of Care’ stems from the ‘Owners Liability Act 1957 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974’.
Whilst trees can offer both aesthetic and environmental benefits, they have been known to fail structurally, particularly when not maintained to good arboricultural standards. If a tree branch were to fall or a tree collapse causing personal injury or damage to property, litigation could be brought to the injured parties.
In a court of law, the ability to provide evidence of routine tree inspection and corrective tree surgery is often sufficient to demonstrate that the owner of the tree has acted in a ‘reasonably practicable’ manner and thus behaved responsibly. Under such circumstance prosecution does not follow.