Japanese knotweed: Phil Spencer discusses plant

While trimming overhanging trees or picking winter fruit may be on many people’s to-do lists, a garden expert is warning Britons of the laws they must be mindful of before making any drastic changes.

To help, the experts at Gazeboshop have teamed up with property lawyer Colum Smith at Taylor Rose MW Solicitors to outline laws Britons should avoid making this year.

1. Allowing Japanese knotweed to spread

Many people will be familiar with Japanese knotweed due to it being an invasive and aggressive weed, known to cause structural extreme damage.

That said, the laws surrounding the plant are often “unknown” yet extremely strict, according to the experts.

They said: “In fact, earlier this year a man was used for £200,000 for failing to declare his garden contained the plant during the sale of his house.

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“Whilst you might not be in any rush to sell your house, it is vital to carry out a thorough inspection for the invasive species as letting the plant grow out of your garden and into the wild can leave you with a hefty £5,000 fine.”

2. Cutting overhanging branches

Having a neighbour’s tree hanging over your garden can be annoying, especially if it is blocking any natural light.

Whilst cutting it yourself is allowed, it is important to only trim the overhanging branches, according to the expert.

The pros noted: “You are not allowed to trespass onto their land to carry out the pruning and it is worth bearing in mind that you may be responsible for any damage which results from the pruning.”

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3. Blocking neighbour’s light

The experts explained: “You may think that you can plant a tree anywhere you like in your garden because you own the land, but this is unfortunately not true.

“If a tree you plant in your garden grows to block natural sunlight into a neighbour’s window that has had access to it for 20 years, this can land you paying compensation or being faced with an order to cut the tree down.

“Before planting a tree, think carefully about the height it will grow to and how it may impact sunlight into your and your neighbour’s garden.”

4. Disregarding people’s right to privacy

With more and more people taking precautions for their home security, many are introducing security cameras and doorbells with live video cameras.

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The pros said it is critical that cameras placed outdoors only capture film within the confines of your own garden or public space.

They added: “Perhaps surprisingly, other garden items that can infringe on privacy rights are trampolines. Where possible, avoid placing them anywhere where children can bounce and see into a neighbour’s house.

“So whether you’re tidying up your garden or improving home security, remember to bear these seven laws in mind to avoid getting on the wrong side of the law.

“A lot of these issues can be ironed out if you maintain a good relationship with your neighbours and speak to them about any niggling issues you may have.”

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