Bad weather causing trees to fall creates additional headaches for farmers. The owner of the trees is the person liable in law for the damage it causes if negligence of the landowner is proved. Therefore, famers and property owners need to monitor trees on their land.
It is vitally important for farmers and property owners to check their lands for dangerous or falling trees. Failure to act on noticing a damaged tree could prove costly.
The law is governed by the Roads Act, 1993, section 70 which provides that the landowner or occupier must take reasonable steps to ensure that any structure on the land is not a hazard or a potential hazard to users of the public road. The key words are ‘reasonable steps’ and if this is shown that reasonable steps were taken then they are on safe ground.
For farmers, hedges too can cause hazards to road users especially cyclists so regular maintenance assists in avoiding accidents and claims.
Farmers need also to be conscious of The Forestry Act, 2014, section 17 as it applies to the cutting down of trees.
This section states that it is illegal to uproot any tree over 10 years old, or cut down any tree of any age, including trees which form part of a hedgerow, without a licence.
The licence may include conditions such as environmental and replanting conditions.
If any of these issues arise, a call to your solicitor could save a lot of worry.