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Cavanagh -v- Witley Parish Council

On 3 January 2012, Mr Cavanagh (The Claimant) was driving public bus along the A283 Petworth Road in Witley, Surrey, when a mature lime tree fell across the road hitting the vehicle and causing him severe injuries. The responsibility for the tree rested with Witley Parish Council (The First Defendant) who operated a three-yearly inspection regime leading up to the incident. The Second Defendant was a tree and forestry contractor, Mr Shepherd, who inspected the tree about three years before the failure. The experts agreed that the tree failed due to severe and extensive decay in the root system, with high winds being a contributory factor. At the time of failure, the tree had a significant fungal bracket of the genus Ganoderma at its base, but on the side furthest from the road.

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