Oak trees in Queen’s Wood – an update
We are aware of, and completely understand, some residents’ concern at the planned removal of four Oak trees in Queen’s Wood. A petition and a campaign has been launched, and lots of questions are being asked. In short, the trees have been identified for removal as part of a subsidence claim against the council on behalf of an insurer of a property in the area. If the council does not remove the trees, we will face costs of at least £270,000.
Here, we set out the background, and offer a statement from Cllr Kirsten Hearn, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Sustainability, who says:
I do not want these trees to be cut down.
This is not the first claim from this property. Further subsidence has occurred. Haringey Council has paid for underpinning works to the building to address subsidence. This has not been successful.
In this case, the council are left with two choices: to pay the insurance costs for further underpinning, at a cost we are told of at least £270,000, or cut down the four trees.
The council has a huge hole in its budget due to actions it has taken to protect residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. This follows 10 years of austerity during which council budgets have been slashed.
We simply cannot afford to pay out £270,000 to the homeowner’s insurance company. I am truly sorry, but the trees have to go.
Four Oak trees in Queen’s Wood have been identified for removal as part of a substantial subsidence claim by insurers of a property in the area. Given the diameter of the four trees’ stems, we believe them to be relatively young – an estimate of somewhere between 30 and 40 would be a fair assumption.
There had been a plan to remove a fifth, but council officers were able to save the tree, due to its maturity, greater ecological value and further distance away from the relevant property. The claimants’ solicitors have said that they will continue to monitor the property to establish whether removal of the four trees has stabilised the property. We have committed to replacing the four Oak trees this autumn.
The council reviews insurance claims of this nature extensively and engage external advisors and work with independent experts to investigate claims where appropriate. If we can take mitigating actions such as crown reduction, we do so, as we have done in this case (amongst other steps we have taken too, such as underpinning).
We face incurring costs of, at minimum, £270,000 if the trees are not removed now.
We have regularly updated all associated stakeholders, including the Friends of Queen’s Wood group, in the weeks and months leading up to the removal of these four Oak trees.
Haringey is committed to planting more trees – we expect to plant at least 800 by the end of the year – the last thing we want is to take any down. We have gone to great lengths to try and avoid this action.
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