Overhanging trees - common law rights

What to do if a tree from a cemetery is overhanging on your property.

How to remove overhanging branches

The policy for cemetery trees is to let them grow unrestricted to their natural, ultimate size. You can read the council's arboricultural information pages to find out how we manage tree stock. Please be aware that the ‘what we do and when’ section of the website refers to street trees only.

More information on how Brighton & Hove Council manages its tree stock can be found on the council's arbicultural infomation  at http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/leisure-and-libraries/parks-and-green-spaces/arboricultural-information but please be aware that the ‘what we do and when’ section of the website refers to street trees only. 

Although we do not undertake works to trees for reasons of overhanging or shading to gardens, under common law, neighbours may prune back any overhanging branches to your boundary. There are restrictions to this rule and you should not prune a tree is covered by a tree preservation order (TPO) or where to do so may be to the ultimate detriment of the tree, i.e. likely to kill it. You should not reach across the boundary to continue pruning as this would become trespass, nor should you take anything off the height of the tree. 

In the case of cemeteries we would not require the return of any prunings and it would remain your responsibility to dispose of any arisings from the tree work.

Due to the risks involved in tree pruning, it is advisable for any works to be carried out by professional, insured contractors unless they are of a very minor nature. We would require prior notification of any work as the cemetery is a sensitive site where funerals may be taking place and noisy works should be planned not to clash with these sensitive events. 

Elm trees

If the tree is an elm tree please read the information about elm disease before carrying out any works.