Trees & Power & Telephone Cables

We are now getting to grips with our new house=mastering/playing with ride-on mower, petrol strimmer, chain-saw, leaf-blower- do we really need a new roof?!!!

At the top edge of our garden are a power line & telephone line to our house. From the post on the road there is both a power cable & telephone cable running through our trees up to next doors' & to another post & to next doors' with the former.

My question is whose responsibility is the integrity of these wires? They are OK at the moment but with potential tree movement in gales & maybe just tree growth I think they are something of an accident waiting to happen.

Advice would be most welcome.



I recently had a registered letter from France Telecom telling me my hedge would need to be cut back as it had grown up through the telephone wires.. If i failed to do it in two months the elagage would be ordered and charged to me...

Some people do have terrible experiences. When we had a cable broken by a falling tree near us - it happened overnight - by 0900 the next morning I could hear the chain saws and, being nosey, went to see what they were doing. There were 5 people there working and by the afternoon all was repaired and all power restored.

I was suitable impressed.

Roger, all those cables were supposed to be under ground... EDF and FT/Orange are so poor, the management suffers of low wages etc. But its their responsibility if something is happened. Do not touch any of this cable. Under no circumstances, you will be held responsible for the end of your life.

Leave your trees nice were they are. They make your land more nice, give more shade, contribute to more humidity which in turn is good for all the other plants of your garden and this all contributes to the value of your property.

A neighbour had fixed his telephone line after a harvester had destroyed the pole. Then, surprise, surprise just only 3 weeks later the 'expert' of France Telecom arrived. He left the provisional fix my neighbour had done in a rush. The 'expert' did not even realised that a pole was completely missing... but reported the 'illegal' fix and my neighbour was accused with manipulating the wire...

Nothing has changed Chris - your trees didn't cause a cable to be cut.

Things must have changed. A few years ago we had a letter from ERDF advising us that there were some trees on our property hanging over the electrical supply. The cable only comes to us - we are the last in the line. We were offered the chance of doing it ourselves or having their contractor do it.

A year later the appointed sub contractor came along, cut back the offending branches and then minced them up - leaving us to clear up the piles.

We have never had a bill for this at all, although I understood at the time that if I had asked them to take away the stuff I would have had to pay.

It is most certainly NOT ERDF who 'see to it all' !....

I know this for a fact as I had a visit from ERDF just yesterday..... Allegedly (!) some trees on my property were responsible for breaking two small, low gain electricity cables servicing electric fencing and water pumps for a 'peasant' (their words not mine!) living about 2km away.

Each 2-3 years, ERDF have historically cleared around 5m either side of high tension cables running through my property with no cost to me. Apparently this is their responsibility and cost due to the large number of people potentially affected by a loss of power. However, the smaller 'branch lines' are fully the responsibility and cost of the property owner should they be affected by trees on the property. These should normally be identified by notaires at the time of property purchase.

On the 'constat' I signed - it will be the cost of 3 workmen for 4 hours plus materials - which included the clearing of all vegetation around the offending lines . All covered by my House Insurance - Responsabilité Civile.

According to the head guy - I may, or may not, receive any follow up or indeed a bill - we'll see. Nonetheless I've warned my insurance company. Watch this space for updates :-)

We had a visit from a couple of people who were contracted by the local electricity company. Their job was to cut branches that might interfere with the lines. I got the impression that they had to ask where the trees were on private property. If the landowner agreed the work was carried out free but if they said ‘no’ any subsequent damage to the lines was their responsibility. The lines that pass through this area are kept very clear of the trees.

Hi again Roger. If in doubt contact range or ERDF etc and get advice. Usually the services look after their own cables etc When I worked on a local golf course EDF would come every two years to clear a swathe of ground underneath and about five metres either side of power cables which ran across woodland on the course.

Phone cables are France Telecom aka Orange except when they blame FT for what they cock up. If somebody knocks down a pylon or a wind blows down the cable then somebody might just turn up in a week or six. If you were a young lad of let's say 20, you could still go through your entire life without seeing a linesman unless something happened to it - or so I have been told by one when he had to come out to reconnect after a line was knocked down during a storm.

Thanks, Helen, that's a relief. I don't have to let EDF know then? Is it the same with the telephone wire-we're with Orange for the ligne fixe?

So many questions-sorry!

it's erdf that see to it all - periodically they do send letters to property owners to say they are coming to do maitenance/cut trees that are a risk to the lines