What are the regulations for right to light?

September 2013

Question

What are the regulations for a “right to light”?

Answer

Again, the planning guidelines deal with this issue in the built environment, however in Ireland there are no specific guidelines/ regulations when it comes to the right to light. Under the new proposed legislation, high trees and shrubs that overshadow an adjoining garden would be actionable in the courts.

In the civil courts there may be case law dealing with disputes between neighbours, where someone has enjoyed uninterrupted light for a period of time then a neighbour plants a fast growing hedge which eventually blocks the light; however there are no specific regulations dealing with this. If an overhanging limb is blocking light then the homeowner is allowed to prune the overhanging limb back to the boundary.

The overhang can only be cut back from ground level. The tree cannot be climbed or mechanical lifts used, the tree cannot be de-stabilised in any way and the health of the tree cannot be compromised.

Before removing any overhanging limbs it is best to consult with the tree owner.