Thursday, 13 October 2011


In August I received, out of the blue, the following letter dated 4th (scanned in, click to enlarge) from Oxfordshire County Council:

And the back of the letter...

In summary the key quotes are:
It has come to our attention...that the above light [side of my house] is being obstructed by a shrub, which may be growing on your property and overhanging the highway boundary ...under the Highways Act 1980, and for the safety of the public, we have to maintain full operation of street lights and this includes unobstructed illumination of the highway. is the owner's responsibility to maintain vegetation to meet this requirement.
Guess what's coming next?
Please notify me within the next 14 days....whether you will be able to carry out this pruning work...
If you are unable to, or we do not receive a reply within the next 14 days, we will arrange for the work to be carried out by our Contractor and may seek to recover the cost from you.
Seek to recover costs? Unfortunately - for Oxfordshire Council - the tree / shrub does not reside on my land, according to my deeds, so I sent the following email clarifying that in response (click to enlarge):

Since my email; arguing that the tree / shrub does not grow on my property I've had no further response from the council. And this is the tree / shrub, in question, over 2 months later (taken today) - still uncut:

Funny how - when they thought it grew on my land - it was urgent and contrary to the Highways Act 1980 and I was given 14 days to sort it out or else I'd incur charges. But when it turns out to be their that's a bit different.

Hmm I sense a FOI request in the making.


  1. WfW, Is it paranoia to think that you are being targetted by these entities?

  2. @JiC I don't think I'm not important enough to be targeted - in my view it's a mixture of typical incompetence and a local council's attitude of trying to extract money where it can.

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  4. One law for you, and none for them!

  5. Surprised they did not charge you for the letter as well.

  6. Prune the bush and seek to recover 'costs'

  7. @Richard Precisely

    @Anon Agree, though if they did I'd do what I do with banks - send a letter back charging them for the exact amount

    @Bucko Don't tempt me :-)