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Is collecting wood from the road side legal under UK law?
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Is collecting wood from the road side legal under UK law?

Obviously i am not suggesting going on to privte land and hacking down trees. But if the council cut down trees or branches as part of keeping roads clear and then leaves the logs by the roadside; Can i just take them home fot the wood burner or is it theft if i dont get permission?

Paul W
If the trees belong to the council it would be best to approach them first and ask permission, that way you will not leave yourself open to any prosecution. I am sure they would not mind you taking them. The reason you need to contact them is more for your own protection as they may in fact have earmarked those logs for some other purpose. There still is a law which refers to stealing by finding. If you found a wallet on the street that someone had lost, who does it belong to? You have an obligation by law to hand it to the police. So who owns the logs?

fallen trees branches etc stay the ownership of the owner of the tree and as such collecting them would technically be stealing, if a private tree falls on to the highway we chop it up and push it back on to the private land for the owner to deal with, one reason for this is the cost of getting rid of the wood. having said all that you will rarely get any complaints from anyone for clearing such wood but working on the highway is dangerous and illegal for anyone not approved to do so and carrying the necessary insurance normally at least £5 million public liability, in the case of you possibly causing an accident in collecting the wood you could in these days of litigation find yourself in a lot of trouble, i would say its not worth the trouble for a bit of wood.

Mr Sceptic
It's illegal. Everything belongs to somebody and you can't just help yourself to it.

This is a complicated one because the tree which was cut down by the council may belong to them. It could also belong to a private owner who asked the council to cut it down and has paid them a fee. The tree now stacked logged on the roadside belongs to somebody in my opinion and is best left untouched. Removal of said tree could mean facing a charge of theft. Collecting wood from common land is allowable only for people living on or near the said common land who have commoners rights. Really am not sure about collecting wood for free. Everything in UK belongs to someone, even the weeds in the fields.

if anyone asks just say the council left it there and you were removing it as you felt it posed a hazard if the council threaten to take any action say you tripped on it and didnt want anyone else too. Then threaten to sue them. Seriously though, I cant see anyone having issues with this

i think it comes under windfall where if a branch or even an apple falls to the ground you can pick it up and take it without fear of prosecution.

freddy the newf
A man was prosecuted recently for picking blackberries so I would tread with caution. We must be the only nation on earth where you would receive this negative answer as we enforce every cr.ap law going. Don't you just hate the U.K.?

The Dazzler
read a story recently about a bloke who was prosecuted (or about to be) because his dog had brought a stick back from the park and an over zelous park keeper reported him! so yes it must be illegal, but sure if you just asked the loggers who are cutting them down they would say yes rather than having to write to the local council

Probably belong to the local council. In the UK most things are illegal when it comes to land and property because the rich own most of it.

if they are on public land you can take them as long as its not conservation land but you cannot take them from wooded areas

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