More tree problems

Will removing a tree cause a slip?

After a night of torrential downpour, Farmer Freddy is making the most of what has turned out to be a beautiful evening.

Relaxing in his favourite chair and chatting with his daughter Pebbles, Freddy starts to plan tomorrow's activities.

"I can't wait to get rid of that ugly old tree we talked about the other week" says Freddy. "I will finally be able to spend my evenings lying in the sun instead of sweeping up all those bothersome leaves!"

"It is a good idea, and how lucky we are that the tree isn't protected" replies Pebbles. "I do have one concern though, Dad..."

"What's that, Pebbles?" asks Freddy.

"Well, the tree is fairly large and it's at the top of a pretty big hill. Don't you think that removing it might cause a slip?" replies Pebbles.

"I guess that is a possibility with all the rain we've been having lately, but that's not really my problem. That's Jim's land at the bottom of the hill" states Freddy with a wink.

"That's my point, Dad" replies Pebbles. "If you cause a slip onto his land you could be liable."

"For taking out a tree on my own property?!" exclaims Freddy.

"Landowners need to consider how things done to their land can impact neighbouring properties" explains Pebbles. "If removing the tree causes a slip onto Jim's land, he may have a claim in the tort of nuisance."

"He's the nuisance ..." starts Freddy.

Pebbles cuts him off. "You should really take this more seriously, Dad" she begins. "If you do something on your land that risks interfering with Jim's ability to use his land, and that inference is substantial and unreasonable, he might be able to recover damages from you. Those damages would reflect the amount it costs to fix the problem. You can be liable in this kind of situation even though you have not contracted with Jim to avoid causing damage to his property."

"But can removing a tree really cause that much damage?" asks Freddy.

"It's a pretty big tree and that hill is quite steep. It does seem like a real possibility" replies Pebbles.

"So what can I do?" asks Freddy, "I really do want to get rid of it."

"Let's go have a look at it now shall we?" replies Pebbles. "Perhaps we can figure out a way to do it without causing any damage."

"Good idea," says Freddy, "and then I might go talk to Jim to see if he has any suggestions. He might even let me borrow his chainsaw!"

"You're a real thinker, Dad" replies Pebbles.

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