Maintaining highways versus tree preservation

A council’s duty to maintain highways gives it the right to fell trees and takes priority over an obligation to preserve them, a court has ruled. The case has a number of wider implications

Richard Macrory, professor of environmental law, University College LondonEnvironmental disputes often arise when public authorities are faced with competing duties. R (on the application of Dilner) v Sheffield City Council and Amey Hallam Highways Ltd (Administrative Court, High Court [2016] EWHC 945, 27 April 2016) provides a valuable analysis of the legal position of local authorities engaged in road maintenance where this inevitably involves the destruction of urban trees with a strong amenity function.

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