231:172 Cutting Trees. –
I. No licensee shall have the right to cut, prune, or remove any shade or ornamental tree, for the purpose of erecting or maintaining poles or structures or installing wires or other attachments or appurtenances thereto, without obtaining the consent of the owner of the land on which such tree grows. The receipt of a license to erect and maintain such equipment pursuant to RSA 231:160 and RSA 231:160-a includes consent to cut, prune, or remove shade or ornamental trees growing on land located within the public right-of-way, or which may fall upon the right-of-way, that pose a danger to the reliability of equipment installed at or upon licensed utility facilities. Nothing in this section shall affect the right of the landowner to the cordwood or timber that results from the activities of a licensee under this subdivision.
II. A licensee shall provide notice in writing at least 45 days in advance of any non-emergency cutting, pruning, or removal of shade or ornamental trees that is scheduled to take place on a landowner's property. The notice shall, at the option of the licensee, be given in person, or sent separately by ordinary mail, and not included in or as a part of a utility bill or other regular communication, to owners of affected land using the name and address that appears on municipal tax records for the property, or sent separately by electronic mail, and not included in or a part of a utility bill or other regular communication, if the landowner has established regular electronic mail communication with the licensee.
(a) The notice shall provide the name and contact information of a representative of the licensee who may be contacted to schedule personal consultation regarding the activities.
(b) For the purposes of this section, the owner shall be deemed to have consented to the activities if he or she fails to affirmatively request personal consultation within 45 days of the mailing of such notice.
(c) If, after personal consultation with the licensee, the owner refuses to consent to the activities, the selectmen, upon petition, after notice to the owner and licensee, and hearing, shall determine whether the cutting, pruning, or removal is necessary and, if determined to be necessary, assess the damage to the owner.
III. Upon highways which have been designated scenic roads pursuant to RSA 231:157 and RSA 231:158, cutting, pruning, or removal shall be further restricted as set forth in those sections or any local provisions adopted thereunder.
IV. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require notice to or consent from the owner of land in the event that the owner, or a predecessor of the owner, has granted an easement which provides legal authority for the utility to remove, cut, prune, or trim trees or vegetation on the owner's land.