Part 13 - Rights to lop trees

Infrastructure Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:30 pm on 15th January 2015.

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Rights to lop trees

79 (1) This paragraph applies where—

(a) a tree or other vegetation overhangs a street in England and Wales or Northern Ireland or a road in Scotland, and

(b) the tree or vegetation—

(i) obstructs, or will or may obstruct, relevant electronic communications apparatus, or

(ii) interferes with, or will or may interfere with, such apparatus.

(2) In sub-paragraph (1) “relevant electronic communications apparatus” means electronic communications apparatus which—

(a) is installed, or about to be installed, on land, and

(b) is used, or to be used, for the purposes of an operator’s network.

(3) The operator may, by notice to the occupier of the land on which the tree or vegetation is growing, require the tree to be lopped or the vegetation to be cut back to prevent the obstruction or interference.

(4) If, within the period of 28 days beginning with the day on which the notice is given, the occupier of the land on which the tree is growing gives the operator a counter-notice objecting to the lopping of the tree or cutting back of the vegetation, the notice has effect only if confirmed by an order of the court.

(5) Sub-paragraph (6) applies if at any time a notice under sub-paragraph (3) has not been complied with and—

(a) the period of 28 days beginning with the day on which the notice was given has expired without a counter-notice having been given, or

(b) an order of the court confirming the notice has come into force.

(6) The operator may cause the tree to be lopped or the vegetation to be cut back.

(7) Where the operator lops a tree or cuts back vegetation in exercise of the power in sub-paragraph (6) the operator must do so in a husband-like manner and in such a way as to cause the minimum damage to the tree or vegetation.

(8) Sub-paragraph (9) applies where—

(a) a notice under sub-paragraph (3) is complied with (either without a counter-notice having been given or after the notice has been confirmed), or

(b) the operator exercises the power in sub-paragraph (6).

(9) The court must, on an application made by a person who has sustained loss or damage in consequence of the lopping of the tree or cutting back of the vegetation or who has incurred expenses in complying with the notice, order the operator to pay that person such compensation in respect of the loss or damage as it thinks fit.