A new survey of 2,000 Brits has revealed that over half could be unknowingly breaking the law by pruning a neighbour’s garden bush without permission.
According to research, conducted by the shed and log cabin retailer Tiger Sheds, UK homeowners and tenants are breaking UK garden laws.
Over half (52%) admitted that they would just chop down a neighbour’s tree branch, bush or root without permission if it was in growing into their garden or without knowing the properties boundaries. This could see them at risk of being charged with criminal damage.
By law, you can trim branches or roots but only up to the property boundary. If you do more than this, your neighbour could take you to court for damaging their property.
When it comes to managing wild birds and nests in gardens, Brits again could easily be facing trouble with the law. Worryingly, 17% of Brits would just move a bird’s nest from their garden, 16% would trim the hedges and bushes around the nest and 8% would entice them out with food.
It’s an offence under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 to intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built³. By doing so you could face an unlimited fine and up to 6 months in prison for each offence if you’re found guilty⁴.
The survey also found that Brits were uncertain about the law regarding building a garden shed and whether you need planning permission. A quarter (25%) wouldn’t ask for permission to construct a shed in their garden regardless of the size, 12% don’t think planning permission is needed if it’s not living accommodation and 6% would just ask a neighbour for permission.
In fact, while it’s very rare to need planning permission for a shed, if you do construct a shed and later find it needs planning permission, the council can make you retrospectively apply for planning or you can face an enforcement notice to take the shed down.
And it also appears that when it comes to resolving common garden issues, Brits are just as unsure. The survey found that over half (54%) of people didn’t know how to correctly handle a noisy neighbour.
Over a quarter (27%) would report a noisy neighbour to the police, 17% would send the neighbour a hand-written note telling them to be quiet and eight per cent would do nothing and just hope that they go quiet.
In fact, legally, you must keep a log of any noise issues and, if it happens on a regular basis, you can report it to your local Environmental Health Officer.
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.
It’s important that Brits are aware of these garden laws as simply carrying out some small work in your garden or moving a nest could lead to a number of issues if people aren’t careful.
We at the Tiger Sheds have a number of different guides and blogs to advise people on how to carry out some of the most common garden work. Nobody wants any nasty surprises from just cutting a bush or trying to remove a birds’ nest.”