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Author Topic: Trees and Overhead Telephone Wires - Who Is Responsible?  (Read 1005 times)

ktz392837

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Trees and Overhead Telephone Wires - Who Is Responsible?
« on: March 30, 2019, 06:16:31 PM »

If you have an overhead telephone wire and a neighbours or council owned tree has grown and is entangling / stretching it is it BTs problem or should the neighbour or council be cutting their trees to avoid damage to the wire?  Thanks
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Trees and Overhead Telephone Wires - Who Is Responsible?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2019, 06:37:09 PM »

I suspect there may be no definitive answer, it all depending on circumstances.  And probably depends a lot too, on the mood of the individual BT staff making the decision.

But I think youíll usually find that, when apuratus is installed on/under/over privately owned land, and that appuratus benefits neighbouring properties,  the landowner will have been asked or forced to sign a wayleave agreement.   Such agreements might typically contain a clause making the landowner responsible for damage caused by trees and shrubs.
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licquorice

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Re: Trees and Overhead Telephone Wires - Who Is Responsible?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2019, 07:04:21 PM »

Nothing to do with BT, the wires belong to Openreach. Unless/until a fault occurs, they will not be interested.
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ktz392837

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Re: Trees and Overhead Telephone Wires - Who Is Responsible?
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2019, 07:59:05 PM »

Nothing to do with BT, the wires belong to Openreach. Unless/until a fault occurs, they will not be interested.
Thanks for your helpful reply!  Just in case - that is sarcasm I am sure you knew what I was trying to ask ffs.
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ktz392837

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Re: Trees and Overhead Telephone Wires - Who Is Responsible?
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2019, 08:14:55 PM »

I suspect there may be no definitive answer, it all depending on circumstances.  And probably depends a lot too, on the mood of the individual BT staff making the decision.
. Has anyone had any experience of this happening - how was it resolved? 

What would happen if the tree would need to be cut before the wire could be reliably replaced? 

Were BT really that organised to get agreements when they erected the pole decades ago serving multiple properties where several of the wires on the pole may be spread across multiple peoples gardens to get to a single target house?

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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Trees and Overhead Telephone Wires - Who Is Responsible?
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2019, 08:17:03 PM »

Nothing to do with BT, the wires belong to Openreach. Unless/until a fault occurs, they will not be interested.

Wikipedia (which may be wrong) currently says...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Openreach

Quote
In March 2017, BT Group plc agreed to make Openreach a separate company, Openreach Limited, with its own staff and management[36], but with the network assets continuing to be owned by BT plc for land-contract reasons

My own land is subject to a wayleave agreement dating back to about 2010, pretty sure British Telecommunications plc is named as the contractual party.
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Trees and Overhead Telephone Wires - Who Is Responsible?
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2019, 08:25:31 PM »

. Has anyone had any experience of this happening - how was it resolved? 

What would happen if the tree would need to be cut before the wire could be reliably replaced? 

Were BT really that organised to get agreements when they erected the pole decades ago serving multiple properties where several of the wires on the pole may be spread across multiple peoples gardens to get to a single target house?

I think (may be wrong) that if it is just flying wires that cross the land, with no actual poles or attachments on the land, a formal wayleave may not be needed.   I would imagine in that case (may be wrong) that there would be nothing to stop the landowner letting his trees grow.

But as licquorice said, regardless of who is responsible, I donít think (may be wrong) that trees would be perceived as a problem that needed a solution, unless and until there was damage leading to an actual fault.
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licquorice

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Re: Trees and Overhead Telephone Wires - Who Is Responsible?
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2019, 08:28:18 PM »

My point entirely.
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aesmith

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Re: Trees and Overhead Telephone Wires - Who Is Responsible?
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2019, 05:31:41 PM »

My own land is subject to a wayleave agreement dating back to about 2010, pretty sure British Telecommunications plc is named as the contractual party.
Does your agreement say anything about trees, for example an obligation on you to prevent them damaging the cable?
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Trees and Overhead Telephone Wires - Who Is Responsible?
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2019, 06:03:10 PM »

Does your agreement say anything about trees, for example an obligation on you to prevent them damaging the cable?

Itís ambiguous.   It does say under ďmy responsibilitiesĒ that (my translated wording) I must not plant any trees or shrubs likely to cause damage.    But not sure how that would apply to existing trees, that were planted before the wayleave was created.   Or even to trees that planted themselves.

It also includes a clause that I can ask them to move their stuff if I want to redevelop the land.   That bit is wrapped up in lots of legalese that, I think, means my reason for asking must be reasonable.

PS: On closer inspection, it refers to the possibility that the roots might cause damage to underground stuff, rather than the canopy causing damage to overhead wires.   But then, my agreement does not include anything overhead, itís all underground.

Edit - added PS.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2019, 06:09:49 PM by sevenlayermuddle »
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ktz392837

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Re: Trees and Overhead Telephone Wires - Who Is Responsible?
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2019, 10:03:22 PM »

Thanks everyone for replies. 

As my area is mainly poles with each pole serving a good 10 properties on average with probably 50% of them passing over at least one neighbours garden I would have thought there would be some sort of rule that would protect customers but it appears if you have a tree under your wire you just have to suffer until it breaks enough to have a reportable fault.

I wonder how many days of this new compensation I would rack up if I did ever got stung by this dilemma whilst BT/OR/ISP (or whoever) got my line working again as by the sound of things it wouldn't be a quick fix.

Please be a nice cold summer so trees do not grow!
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Trees and Overhead Telephone Wires - Who Is Responsible?
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2019, 11:05:52 PM »

If itís any consolation...

On a number occasions, Openreach engineers have turned up, investigating problems experienced by neighbours.   I sometimes feel a smidgen worried, as I can clearly see that their lines are entangled and stretched on nearby trees.  I can construct a strong argument as to why these particular trees are not my fault or responsibility wrt BT cables, but I donít relish such an argument. :o

But each time, the fault has been found elsewhere.   These cables have been tangled  to various extents at least 10 years now but never has that turned out to be the cause of anybodyís problem.   They are still tangled, still stretched, the engineers donít seem to give them a second glance.  Nor do I.    :)
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tubaman

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Re: Trees and Overhead Telephone Wires - Who Is Responsible?
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2019, 08:29:35 AM »

My father-in-law had a similar issue with electricity wires recently.  His tree was growing over his boundary and through the overhead wires running at the side of the road. One stormy evening it created quite a light show as the tree moving in the wind caused the wires to bang together. After about an hour of this there was a loud bang and the wires came down, cutting off about half of his village in the process.
The electric company duly arrived and cut back the tree just enough to miss the wires before executed the repair.
There was never any mention of him being in any way responsible - they just turned-up and sorted it.
 :)
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Ronski

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Re: Trees and Overhead Telephone Wires - Who Is Responsible?
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2019, 03:39:56 PM »

I really can't see any electricity distribution company suggesting people trim back trees near power cables, telephone lines are no where near as dangerous.
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ktz392837

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Re: Trees and Overhead Telephone Wires - Who Is Responsible?
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2019, 08:09:46 PM »

Message received - basically I should not worry about it :)

I do not envy OR/electricity engineers though - they are also expected to be tree surgeons!
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