A Local Authority is liable for any damage to adjacent property caused by the roots of a tree growing on the verge of a public highway.
Held: Pre-adoption trees vest in the highway authority for all purposes.
Stuart-Smith, Morritt L, Sir John Balcombe
Times 26-Jun-1997,  EWCA Civ 1901, (1997) 96 LGR 27
Highways Act 1980 96(6), Road Improvements Act 1925 1(1) 1(2) 1(5)
England and Wales
Cited – Leakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
Cited – Solloway v Hampshire County Council CA 1981
Tree root damage had occurred following two successive very hot and dry summers in 1975 and 1976, in an area where the subsoil was almost all gravel but where, as it happened, under the plaintiff’s house there were pockets of clay. An issue arose as . .
Cited – Goodtitle, Ex Dimiss Chester v Alker and Elmes 28-Jan-1757
The owner of land over which ran a public highway did not lose any of his rights of ownership whether of the surface or subsoil. Any trees growing in the highway were his trees . .
Cited – Stovin v Wise, Norfolk County Council (Third Party) HL 24-Jul-1996
Statutory Duty Does Not Create Common Law Duty
The mere existence of statutory power to remedy a defect cannot of itself create a duty of care to do so. A highway authority need not have a duty of care to highway users because of its duty to maintain the highway. The two stage test ‘involves . .
Cited – Turner v Ringwood Highway Board 1870
The highway extended to a width of 50 feet. After adoption trees grew in that part not used as the actual road.
Held: Once a highway exists the public has a right to use the whole of the width of the highway and not just that part of it . .
Cited – Coverdale v Charlton CA 2-Dec-1878
By an award under an Inclosure Act passed in 1766 a private road E was set out. In about 1818 road E became a public highway. A local board was formed in 1863 and in 1876 the board let the pasturage upon E to the Plaintiff. He thereupon commenced to . .
Cited – Geddis v Proprietors of Bann Reservoir HL 18-Feb-1878
The owner of land injured by operations authorised by statute ‘suffers a private loss for the public benefit’, and in the absence of clear statutory authority is unable to claim: ‘It is now thoroughly well established that no action will lie for . .
Cited – Stillwell v New Windsor Corporation 1932
The Plaintiff owned a house bounded on the west and north by public highways. There were a number of post-adoption trees of which the Plaintiff claimed the property. Having refused to comply with the Defendant’s notice to remove the trees on the . .
Cited – Russell v London Borough of Barnet 1984
The Land Registry general boundaries rule operates so that although the land registry plan is placed inside a road, the ad medium filae presumption still operates as regards ownership of the soil. . .
Cited – Bybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council CA 8-Jan-2001
A culvert had been constructed taking a stream underneath the road. At the time when it came into the ownership of the local authority, it was adequate for this purpose. Later developments increased the flow, and the culvert came to become an . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Nuisance, Local Government, Land
Updated: 10 December 2021; Ref: scu.142297